As a social partner, FEB negotiates a series of intersectoral agreements, including the biennial multi-sector agreement known as the 'accord interprofessionnel/interprofessioneel akkoord' (AIP/IPA). The challenges of the 21st century and the transfer of a series of additional powers to regional level require a new model of social dialogue. To this end, the multi-sector employers’ organisations have agreed on a new cooperation protocol favouring integrated and coordinated social consultation. This is known as the Intersectoral Employers’ Dialogue (Concertation des employeurs interprofessionnels/Interprofessioneel Werkgeversoverleg, CEI/IWO).
Within the Group of 10, FEB plays a major role in the two-yearly negotiations with the trade unions on a social agreement for the entire private sector in Belgium (the AIP/IPA).
In line with Belgium’s institutional set-up, there are, alongside FEB at federal level, four regional employers’ organisations – the UWE, Beci and Voka – and a German-language organisation (Allgemeiner Arbeitgeberverband, AAV). Each organisation acts independently in the areas of competence of the federal and regional authorities respectively. In areas of mixed competence and on important issues, the various organisations usually join forces, as show by the recent establishment of the CEI/IWO. Intersectoral Employers’ Dialogue (CEI/IWO) UWE (Wallonia) BECI (Brussels-Capital) VOKA (Flanders) AAV (German-speaking Community)
Intersectoral Employers’ Dialogue Businesses need to radically transform themselves if they are to survive in today’s economic and social environment. Governments too are finding it harder and harder to meet the pressing challenges now emerging … It is therefore essential that we have a new economic and social model capable of providing solutions in this fast-changing and increasingly interdependent world. Businesses, families, workers and government must all reconsider their function, capabilities and objectives within this society. The social partners are key players in this respect, because a completely re-engineered social dialogue model is one of the pillars that will underpin this new social set-up and provide a solid foundation for achieving better results in terms of competitiveness, employment and wealth distribution.
This momentum within society and the resulting need for a new model are further reinforced by political events and in particular the impact of the sixth state reform. Under that reform, additional powers have been transferred to the regions, such as reductions in social security contributions for specific target groups, paid educational leave and getting job-seekers into work, while social security, labour law, organisation of social dialogue and wage setting remain federal matters.
To meet these new challenges, FEB, together with the other employers’ organisations – BECI, Boerenbond/FWA, UCM, UNISOC, UNIZO, UWE and VOKA – has established the Intersectoral Employers’ Dialogue (CEI/IWO).
In this way, employers aim to make a difference in three areas by:
• developing a coherent and integrated employers’ vision spanning all levels of decision-making. This will ensure that the combined outcomes of regional and federal dialogue do not generate extra costs. The aim is to help create an environment in which businesses can operate as efficiently and effectively as possible; • highlighting the fact that coordination based on reciprocity and equivalence – in close consultation with the sectoral organisations – is vital for effective implementation of the employers’ shared vision; • working on the principle that the new CEI/IWO will facilitate social dialogue with the respective public authorities and the other social partners.
Voka - Vlaams netwerk van ondernemingen Rue Royale 154 – 158 000 Brussels T + 32 3 202 44 00 F + 32 3 233 76 60 firstname.lastname@example.org www.voka.be
UWE - Union Wallonne des Entreprises Business Center de la Maison des Entreprises Wallonnes Rue de Rodeuhaie 1 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve T + 32 10 47 19 40 F + 32 10 45 33 43 email@example.com www.uwe.be
BECI - Brussels Enterprises Commerce and Industry Avenue Louise 500 1050 Brussels T + 32 2 648 50 02 F + 32 2 640 93 28 firstname.lastname@example.org www.beci.be
An optimum business environment is vital for a sound economy and sustainable growth. FEB aims to help create and maintain such an environment by, among other things, closely monitoring all issues of direct relevance to businesses. Here, grouped into 17 themes, are the issues on which FEB focuses most of its attention and action.