Social partners

Social partners

Employers and employees are organised in the European social partners UNICECEEP, and ETUC. They can bargain collectively with one another and make agreements.

Collective agreements are not self-binding at the EU-level. They have to be implemented by a directive and/or according to the labour law provisions of the member states.

Member states are not obliged to implement EU-wide collective agreements but they have to guarantee that EU directives based on such agreements are transformed into laws that include those who are not organised in trade unions.

This is called the erga omnes principle.

The implementation of European collective agreements through collective agreements at national level is the responsibility of the national social partners.

11 and 18 December 2007, the EU Court limited the possibilities for trade unions to act against low salaries.



The Lisbon Treaty has made some parts of Social policy a shared competence - EU law therefore suppress national competence to legislate where the EU has legislated. The Lisbon Treaty has taken over the special article on the social dialogue between the social partners.