Social dialogue in central administration under the Italian Presidency: Good intentions, but actions must follow

5 Dec 2014, keywords :

This week (3rd December), the Italian presidency of the Council of the EU put public administration on its agenda, by forging a path towards greater cooperation in a field which deals with daily requests from citizens.

Social dialogue in central administration under the Italian Presidency: Good intentions, but actions must follow

For the first time in 7 years, national ministers for public administration in the EU met to discussed the modernisation of EU public administration. In their conclusions, EU ministers for public administration acknowledged the growing influence, notably through the European Semester, of the EU on national public administrations. The last such meeting of competent ministers in the field of public administration was held in 2007, before the economic crisis which had a siginificant impact on public administration funding.

On the eve of the ministerial meeting, TUNED (Trade unions’ delegation composed of CESI and EPSU) had the opportunity to meet with Signora Ministro Madia, the Public administration and simplification Italian minister.

The TUNED delegation conveyed important messages including highlighting the role of EU sectoral social dialogue and drawing attention to the current work within the committee dedicated to central administration, such as the granting and guarantee of rights to informing and consulting central administration employees and  implementing the framework agreement for a quality service. The effectiveness of good social dialogue, involving more staff and reducing conflict was also underlined.

Minister Madia agreed there was a need for more social dialogue at EU level because the national level is not enough when the EU’s role and competencies are taken into account, in particular with regard to the European semester. Freezing recruitment does not answer to users’ needs, especially in times of crisis, a situation the Minister wants to see avoided. Minister Madia also defined modernisation of public administration as a process to save time and be closer to citizens (through the use of new technologies when possible and offices closer to citizens), not only as a means of cost reduction.

Minister Madia showed good intentions regarding EU social dialogue, but this needs to be followed by concrete actions. Regular meetings of Public administration ministers, regular meetings with TUNED ahead of such ministerial meetings and better implementation of EU legislation and social partners agreements at national level would demonstrate commitment to the importance of social dialogue, a commitment shared by French Minister Lebranchu.

The conclusions of the meeting of Ministers responsible for Public Administration in EU Member States can be read here.

Photo on the right: Nadja Salson, TUNED, Rossana Dettori, FP CGIL, Marianna Madia, Minister of Public Administration and Simplification, Aurore Chardonnet, TUNED


On Friday 5th December, the TUNED delegation met with the EU28 Directors General for Central Public administration (EUPAN). On the agenda were two items currently discussed within the  EU sectoral  social dialogue committee for central government administration, on granting central administration employees’ rights to information and consultation and implementing the Framework agreement for a quality service through an EU project carried out by both employers (EUPAE) and employees’ representatives (TUNED).

The discussion on information and consultation was particularly relevant given the fact that national collective bargaining has been blocked for the last 6 years in Italy. This is unfortunately one of the many examples justifying why TUNED is looking to secure those fundamental rights of workers. Information and consultation is not only at the core of social dialogue and helps the implementation of necessary reforms, but it also improves the ability to anticipate change, reduce conflicts at the workplace and enahnce workers’ well-being and involvement.