European Trade Union Dialogue

Political framework and situation of the trade unions

Global inequality continues to rise. Even if social inequality in Europe has recently decreased again, its continuing threatening extent endangers the social and political cohesion of Europe. Youth unemployment in particular is still reaching scandalous levels. The European trade unions are confronted with drastic shifts in their traditional power resources. Unemployment, precarious employment and increasing social inequality pose significant challenges.

In Germany too, despite growth, the distribution is becoming increasingly unequal, the world of work is becoming more diverse, but also more unstable. At the same time, there is a threat of disruption from technical innovation in Industry 4.0, from digitization and artificial intelligence. Here, too, the trade unions must position themselves, both in Germany and in Europe. The platform economy will change the way we work.

The perception of inequality in Europe shapes the image of the people, at the same time most want a fairer and more social Europe. However, parts of the European population now see globalization and Europeanization more as a risk than as an opportunity. Populist and nationalist currents are very popular. The trade unions must also oppose right-wing extremism in Europe.

The central prerequisite for a social Europe are jobs from which people can actually live well. Strong and future-oriented trade unions, in turn, are the best guarantee that competitiveness, social justice and fair income can be reconciled. That is what our trade union dialogue stands for.

Particular importance is attached to our competence center “Future of Work” and the “European Trade Union Dialogue” project, which works together with the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), the European industry associations (ETUFs) and other organizations and institutions in Brussels.

Reiner Hoffmann and two other trade unionists present the study result at an an FES side event at the ETUC Congress in Berlin. They sit next to each other at a table.

Trade unions and right-wing populism in Europe

25.05.2023 International Trade Union Policy

At an FES fringe event at the ETUC Congress in Berlin, trade unionists discuss the results of the study on “Trade Unions and Right-Wing Populism in...

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Panel 2

Fair Work in Europe - Transnational structures for good and safe work

15.03.2023 International Trade Union Policy

Trade unions discuss approaches to support cross-border labour mobility and to combat wage and social dumping at European level.

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A New Industrial and Competition Policy for Europe

18.11.2022 International Trade Union Policy

German and European trade unions discuss their common understanding and their political demands for overcoming the current crises in Europe.

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L7 – Trade Union Dialogue Shaping the Global Common Good

12.05.2022 International Trade Union Policy

Trade unions from the G7 countries discuss common positions on the global challenges of climate change, digitalization and crisis management.

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Strategic Autonomy for a Social and Sovereign Europe

19.10.2021 International Trade Union Policy

Trade unions discuss a new European sovereignty model that protects industrial relations and the European social model.


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No Green Deal without a Social Deal

09.11.2020 International Trade Union Policy

German and European trade unions discuss how to shape economic and industrial transformation in a social way

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Pelling, Lisa

Post-pandemic hopes and disappointments

Perspectives of care worker unions in seven European countries
Stockholm, 2023

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Czirfusz, Márton

The battery boom in Hungary

Companies of the value chain, outlook for workers and trade unions
Budapest, 2023

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Karadoğan, Emirali

Türkiye' de getir örneği

"Getir bi mutluluk" - Getir sadece mutluluk mu "Getir"ir?
Istanbul, 2023

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Dr. Marc Meinardus

+49 30 26935-7744

Raya Maana

+49 30 26935-7707

The FES trade union monitor summarizes the framework conditions relevant to trade union policy in the respective country and provides data and facts on the country-specific trade union landscape.

The current monitors you can find here:

Trade unions and right-wing populism in Europe

The rise of right-wing populist movements and parties throughout Europe is not without consequences for trade unions. In a sequence of short country studies and an analysis based on them, trade union options for action are examined.

The studies are available for download here:

The Competence Centre on the Future of Work addresses multidimensional aspects of the work itself by focusing on three thematic pillars: Responsible digitalsiation, New Forms of Work and New Technologies at the work place. For more information about our Centre click here.