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Workers’ representatives

European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions (EFFAT) (2000)


Employers’ representatives

Employers' Group of Agricultural Organisations in the EC (COPA-COGECA) (1958)


Representativity study: Traxler, F. (2007), Representativeness of the social partners: Agricultural sector, EIRO, Dublin, October 2007


Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee (SSDC)

Informal working group:




Rules of procedure:

26 April 1999

Work programme:

2007 – 2008 - 2009

General overview

Agriculture is one of the sectors most heavily affected by EU policy developments: establishment of the common agricultural policy (CAP) in the 1960s; surplus production crises in the 1970s and 1980s; protracted reforms of the CAP in the 1990s and 2000s, etc. This is the backdrop to social dialogue in the sector.

Participants and Challenges

Historically, the European agricultural sector is the one that has been keenest on harmonising working conditions with a view to improving them. Social dialogue in the sector brings together the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions (EFFAT) for the workers, and the Employers' Group of Agricultural Organisations in the EC (COPA-COGECA) for the employers. Agreements on working time were concluded back in the 1960s. The next topics to be addressed were training, working conditions, social protection, the combating of undeclared labour, early retirement, etc.


Social dialogue in this sector originally centred around the development of a fully-fledged European system of industrial relations, by means of reciprocal commitments. However, the many protracted reforms of the common agricultural policy also led to a new dimension in this SSD, namely lobbying of the European institutions.

Joint texts

The “agriculture” sectoral social dialogue has resulted, since 1978, in the adoption of 32 joint texts.

ETUI and Observatoire Social Européen (2010) European Sectoral Social Dialogue Factsheets. Project coordinated by Christophe Degryse, online publication available at www.worker-participation.eu/EU-Social-Dialogue/Sectoral-ESD