This first ILO flagship Social Dialogue Report focuses on collective bargaining. As a long-standing process of social dialogue, collective bargaining has played an important role in many countries in securing decent work, guaranteeing equality of opportunity and treatment, reducing wage inequality and stabilizing labour relations. It offers a unique mechanism for regulating the conditions of work and terms of employment – one enacted by the parties themselves. This report focuses on the contribution that employers’ and workers’ organizations make to the inclusive and effective governance of work through collective bargaining.
The report examines the role that collective bargaining played in mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on employment and earnings, helping to cushion some of the effects on inequality while reinforcing the resilience of enterprises and labour markets. The tailoring of public health measures and strengthening of occupational safety and health at the workplace, together with the paid sick leave and healthcare benefits provided for in many collective agreements, protected workers and supported the continuity of economic activity.
Looking to the future, the report considers the contribution of collective bargaining to a human-centred recovery. It highlights the need to reaffirm the democratic principles and rights that give employers and all workers a voice in the governance of work: freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining. These founding principles of the ILO enable the development of strong and representative workers’ and employers’ organizations, whose actions and agreements can pave the way for a recovery that is inclusive, sustainable and resilient.