Promoting Improved Social Dialogue in Malta

SEM contributes to social dialogue in Malta by informing and engaging social partners, civil society organisations, public and private organisations on the EU’s policy and legislative proposals 

During 2021, Servizzi Ewropej f’Malta – SEM, implemented a project entitled ‘Promoting Improved Social Dialogue in Malta’ (PRISM). This project was supported by Norway through the Norway Grants 2014-2021, within the context of the Programme “Social Dialogue - Decent Work”. The main objective of the project was that of conducting a comparative research study on social dialogue in Norway and in Malta and come up with recommendations to strengthen social dialogue in Malta.

The Nordic model of social dialogue can be considered as an ideal example of a system which actively engages social partners in the development of policies. Synonymous with Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, it is characterised by a tripartite system involving Government and representatives for both workers (trade unions) and employers (employers’ organisations).

Looking specifically at Norway, the Norwegian labour market consistently demonstrates a high rate of employment as well as an exemplary rate of gender equality. Over the last 100 years or so, Norwegian social dialogue has developed into a system which offers several good practices that can be adapted and implemented by other countries.

In June 2019, the International Labour Organisation published a report entitled ‘Getting and staying together: 100 years of social dialogue and tripartism in Norway’. A key takeaway from this report is that although initially characterised by conflict among involved social partners, the system quickly shifted to effective cooperation across different political party lines.

In the Maltese model of social dialogue, the government is the main driver of industrial policies and consultation with social partners takes place during the drafting phase of policies. Social partners from their end can put forward policy proposals and be involved in consultation processes with the Government.

SEM contributes to social dialogue in Malta by informing and engaging social partners, civil society organisations, public and private organisations on the EU’s policy and legislative proposals and brings the different stakeholders together to discuss such policies.

Agency officials also participate in meetings of the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development to provide in-depth updates of the long-term strategies and legislative proposals of the EU.

As part of the PRISM project, SEM organised an online meeting with three Norwegian social partners to gain practical insight on the Norwegian model of tripartite dialogue. On the basis of this meeting as well as a desk research, a report was published outlining current practices in social dialogue in both Malta and Norway in order to provide recommendations to improve social dialogue in Malta.

The report notes that a key difference between the two social dialogue models in Malta and Norway is that the former is mostly based on information sharing, whereas the latter is based on engagement of all parties. Nonetheless, the report also notes that social dialogue in Malta has a relatively short history compared to Norway – 30 years compared to Norway’s 100 years.

The final activity of this project was a business breakfast held on December 2, which brought together a number of social partners and Government representatives. During this event, attendees were informed about the activities that were carried out as part of the PRISM project, including a presentation on the findings of the mentioned report and its recommendations. The event also involved a discussion on the topic of social dialogue and how this can be improved in Malta on the basis of the findings and recommendations of the report. The Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister, the Hon. Carmelo Abela was also present for this session.

For further information about the project and report findings, visit here or contact SEM on info.sem@gov.mt or 2200 3300.