Transnational Social Dialogues as a basis for acts of solidarity

What is the subproject about?

Social Dialogue

The subproject on Transnational Social Dialogues is led by the Centre for Labour Studies and Political Education (zap). It examines transnational social dialogues as possible places of solidarity.

Social dialogues can be defined as negotiations, consultations, joint actions, discussions and information-sharing involving employers and workers. Well-functioning social dialogue is a key tool in shaping working conditions, involving a variety of actors at various levels. It balances the interests of workers and employers and contributes to both economic competitiveness and social cohesion.


Social dialogues comprise different institutionalized forms that are either legally secured such as the European Works Council  or legally binding agreements that are not explicitly integrated into a legislative framework. Examples are Transnational Company Agreements, agreements by European Works Council that go beyond their foundation or even something in between. All these agreements share a sense of solidarity on the company-level and hereby foster social cohesion at the European level.

What are the aims of the subproject?

Overall, the subproject aims at uncovering motives of transnational solidarity amongst actors involved in social dialogues (such as European work councils, employers, trade unions, etc.).

Therefore, it addresses the following research questions:

  1. How and under what conditions does transnational solidarity occur on the company level?
  2. Which actors promote the establishment of social dialogues and what are their motives for their action?

More precisely, the subproject has three research aims:

  1. The analysis of legally binding, solidary juridification of social dialogues as well as the documentation of existing agreements within a public and digitally accessible data base.
  2. The uncovering and systematization of so called „soft“ topics in transnational working relations, such as equal pay, work life balance or digitization.
  3. The uncovering of institutional causal factors and motives of involved actors that are initiating processes of solidary interaction.

    How will the project be implemented?

    In order to adress the research questions and to implement the subproject, the project team will:

    1. Develop/up-date a data base comprising all social dialogues within the European area
    2. Analyze social dialogues especially with regards to the regulation of work-life-balance, gender equality and digitization
    3. Conduct expert interviews with actors involved in the negotiation and/or extension of social dialogues at the company-level

    If you would like to collaborate with us and/or need further information, please contact Dr. Philipp Gies,Franziska Laudenbach or Marcus Franke.