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BUSINESSMED, strategic partner of the UfM 4th Social Dialogue Forum

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BUSINESSMED, strategic partner of the UfM 4th Social Dialogue Forum

Online
06/10/2020 to 07/10/2020

BUSINESSMED and its members took part remotely on the 6th and 7th of October 2020 to the fourth social dialogue forum of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM). This new edition of the forum took stock of the activities carried out by the European and South Mediterranean social partners in the framework of the UfM and set out the next steps in their cooperation paving the way for their future joint contribution to the UfM Ministerial Meeting on Employment and Labour in 2022.

In the presence of experts from the UfM Secretariat, the European Commission, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and other regional employers and trade unions organisations, the forum focused on current and future priorities and challenges of the social dialogue in the UfM countries.

Two bilateral meetings between employers and trade union organisations from both sides of the Mediterranean opened the forum. The employers’ session started with the presentation of the results of the first phase of the SOLiD and the introduction of the second phase of the project by Jihen Boutiba, General Secretary of BUSINESSMED.

The employers then shared concrete actions and approach followed locally, but also proposed solutions to cope and recover from the current pandemic: an improved social dialogue, the necessity of regional and triangular cooperation, and also bigger involvement of all stakeholders.

 The employers’ recommendations have been enriched by those of the trade unions, and emphasis has been placed on key themes such as informal work, the role of women in several sectors, international solidarity, the revaluation of social dialogue, the strengthening of social protection systems and respect for fundamental rights.

During the two working days, 117 participants discussed the main challenges of the Euro-Mediterranean labour market during the Covid-19 period, the role of social dialogue in migration and brain drain issues, multilateral cooperation as an engine for growth prospects, and the progress of Social Dialogue in and between the two shores of the Mediterranean.

The partners from the south stressed that the pandemic has exacerbated an already fragile economic situation with high unemployment rates. With the fragility of the institutions and the problem of the informal sector, the economic stakes in the southern Mediterranean region are high.

Participants also discussed how EU funding could be invested in recovery plans in the face of the Covid-19 crisis in the coming years.  In this context, several key speakers introduced the European Commission’s regional programming in social dialogue and the areas of support to SMEs & job creation, and also each component of the SOLiD II program since this project has the potential to strengthen the role of the social partners of the South through the promotion of social dialogue.