The main objective of the project is namely to discuss the social and economic challenges which will determine the future construction labour market.
Currently the European secretariats of EFBWW and FIEC are preparing their next multi-annual work programme for the European social dialogue for the construction industry (2020-2023) because the current work program will run until the end of 2019. The formal discussion between the EFBWW and FIEC will take place after the summer holidays of 2019. As this call for proposals has an earlier deadline, there is not yet a formal work program of the ESD for the construction industry (2020-2023). However, within the different existing working groups of the ESD construction industry, exploratory discussions on the next work program for the European Sectoral Social Dialogue for the construction industry 2020-2023 already took place. The thematic topics, identified within this project application, reflect these preparatory discussions.
The upcoming social and economic challenges of the construction labour market are not exclusive discussions for the European Sectoral Social partners. The labour market will be influenced by external partners, which have a major impact on the labour market of the future. The decentralized discussion will provide sufficient discussion opportunities with those external partners. As such, the project will have a multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder approach.
The project will promote the European Social Dialogue at national level, while at the same time encourage national social partners, especially from the CEECs to be stronger involved in the European Social dialogue of the construction industry.
The thematic discussions have been selected carefully, ensuring that they are priorities for the European social partners of the construction and complementary to the work programme of the European cross sectoral social partners (2019-2021).
The aim of the project is to organize six decentralised thematic social dialogue meetings on matters which will significantly influence the future developments of the construction labour markets.
1. Initiatives for attracting and retaining young people in the construction industry
In almost all the Member States the construction industry is facing difficulties in attracting and retaining young people and at the same time demographic changes are leading to an ageing workforce. One of the main reasons is the overall negative image of the construction industry and its unattractiveness for young people. There is therefore an urgent need to change this “perception” and to improve the attractiveness. In this respect the “greening” and the digitalisation of the construction industry”, will be very important topics during these discussions .
FIEC and EFBWW have already developed a joint website (www.construction-for-youth.eu ) aiming at presenting national initiatives. We would like to continue identifying and promoting best practices.
2. Addressing the problem of skills gaps/mismatches and corresponding adaptations of the training schemes due to the “greening” and the digitalisation of the construction industry
In almost all the Member States construction companies are facing difficulties in finding workers with the right skills and various factors can explain this situation (technical developments, rigid training schemes, etc.). It is therefore of crucial importance to define the best strategies/approaches in better anticipating the “green” and digital skills needs and in adapting the training schemes correspondingly. FIEC and EFBWW are amongst the partners of the “Blueprint” project that started in 2019 and which focusses on the construction industry and in particular on skills related to digitalisation, energy efficiency and circular economy. This thematic meeting will be a good opportunity on the one hand to ensure an efficient follow-up of the “Blueprint” project at the social dialogue level, thereby involving also countries that are not participating in the project, and, on the other hand, to address other possible areas that are not within the scope of the “Blueprint” project.
3. Exchange of best practices, improvement and development of OSH Risk Assessment tools and methodologies in construction
Risk assessment is the starting point of any application of OSH measures/policies. In order to be efficient it requires a tailored approach, in particular as regards the specificities of the construction industry (mobile worksites, non-standardised processes, constantly changing working conditions, interaction and coordination between different actors on the same workplace, etc.). FIEC and EFBWW will therefore discuss and exchange best practices regarding risk assessment tools specifically targeted to the construction industry and in particular their efficiency in adequately taking into account the above mentioned specificities. Particular areas of interest, related amongst others to recent joint initiatives, will be : the “Mobile sites” Directive (92/57/EC), the “Carcinogens” Directive (90/394/EC), psycho-social risks, etc.
4. How can digitalisation improve OSH in the construction industry ?
The digitalisation of the EU industry is proceeding at an increasingly high speed, including in the construction industry, which is still considered as being mainly labour intensive. BIM (Building Information Modelling), 3D printers, robots and cobots (= collaborative robots), drones,… are nowadays already used on construction worksites (large and also small ones). Such developments are sometimes seen with some concerns both by companies and workers, but it is clear that they can also provide an extremely useful added value for example in the field of OSH, for example by ensuring a better coordination on the worksite, by doing tasks in environments highly exposed to dust, by providing support to workers in heavy and/or repetitive tasks, etc. FIEC and EFBWW will discuss how industrial relations can ensure a sustainable implementation of such developments.
5. Assessment of the transposition, implementation, application and enforcement of the “Enforcement” (2014/067/EC) and of the new “Posting of Workers” (2018/955/EC) Directives
In the recent years the EU framework on “Posting of Workers” has been the object of several legislative initiatives, in particular the adoption of the “Enforcement” and of the new “Posting” Directives. They contain some new requirements/provisions which are supposed to introduce improvements in terms of enforcement and to fight social fraud and abuse. FIEC and EFBWW will examine and assess the impact of these Directives from a practical perspective and discuss – where needed – possible improvements aimed to better prevent, control and sanction cross-border social fraud and abuse. In addition, the EFBWW and FIEC will also discuss whether new forms of cross-border social fraud and abuse are emerging, that would require attention.
6. Discussion on the impact and possible solutions regarding the increased number of third-country companies and workers in the construction industry ?
We observe an increasing number of companies and workers from third-countries entering the EU and in particular in the construction industry. This poses many concerns in terms of keeping a level playing field as regards the financing of projects, the application of public procurement rules, the enforcement of labour law, social protection and social rights (OSH, working conditions, etc.), etc. FIEC and EFBWW will examine the current situation and developments and assess their impact on the construction industry and on industrial relations in the countries