Social Dialogue in the Construction Sector


The European construction industry is one of the largest industries in Europe. Its significance lies in providing the infrastructure for other sectors - for this reason the sector is often used as an indicator of overall state of an economy. The construction industry is being hit hard by the current financial and economic crisis, as construction investments decreased significantly, and the European construction sector is experiencing stagnation as employment figures go down. EU Labour market performance showed dramatic divergences from country to country over the last year.  After the first wave of redundancies, where mostly fixed term jobs were at risk, now substantial reduction of very high skilled jobs of domestic workers is on the way. These restructurings are not accompanied by any social measures.

Construction as the bedrock of the economies in most EU countries is currently facing a lack of investments into construction projects, endangering business, existing jobs, job creation, skilled employment, R & D activities, competitiveness and social dialog. Public tenders have become crucial for many companies and subcontractors in the participating countries. However, a late payment policy of the tenderer, which has consequences all along the sub-contracting chain, puts many businesses at risk. Unfortunately, this practice has been going on for many years, and has consequently forced the subcontractors to agree to work under extremely severe competitive pressure with consequences for their employees. This situation remains unresolved due to bad legislation, missing jointly managed paritarian instititons/funds and partly due to absence of CSR in the construction sector. 

The crisis is having a significant negative impact on the construction markets of many of the European countries, with strong declines in investments,  activity and consequently employment. These developments also affect the  social dialogue within the construction industry, as well as the social partners who have to face an increasingly fierce price competition, a lack of work (construction projects), changes in the working patterns and pressures on the wage levels. Now, it is important to find a way to deal with the expected restructurings and strengthen the role of social partners.Now, it is important to find a way to deal with the expected restructurings and strengthen the role of social partners.

Paritarian funds for VET, OSH, social security, pensions schemes, redundancies and others bring social partners together and are the engine to for industrial relations in the construction sector. Almost all existing partiarian funds are established, funded and managed by the social partners themselves. In most of the old EU member states exist paritarian funds for decades, but in the new member states only Romania has a paritarian fund in the construction industry (the Builders Social House, for almost 10 years now). These jointly managed paritarian institutions are an important link between the social partners to solve formal and informal issues, they are the place to negotiate joint agreements and they have at their disposal structures, instruments (finances) to support companies and their workers. They often fulfill a complementary role to the existing government structures.

There have been projects and efforts to introduce the concept of paritarian funds in the new member states by FIEC and EFBWW. Bulgaria, Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary are among the interested countries to introduce such a fund. After having learned much about these funds, it is now time, to take actions and prepare a realistic concept via project SODICO.
 Project SODICO is meant for social partners, employers and employees as well as relevant public authorities in the construction industry.

SODICO facts.


Official (full) name:


Post-Crisis Social Dialogue in Construction Industry






Project duration:


Start: 1. 8. 2012 - End: 31. 7. 2013

Project web site:

Project language:



Project partners: 12
Project contact:

CCIS-CCBMIS is responsible for the overall management of the project. 
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