As of 14 January, the social partners of the EU's metal, engineering and technology-based industries - which represent the biggest sectors in terms of employment - will be entitled to sign contractual agreements at EU level. That day will see the launch of a new sectoral social dialogue committee, which will bring together representatives of the above industries. This committee will function as an official body with a mandate to help employers and employees to find joint solutions to a range of problems at EU level.aAccording to the European Commission, its aim is to help these industries, "which are hard hit by the crisis and which face challenges, such as globalisation, management change and the restructuring process".

Representatives of the Council of European Employers of the Metal, Engineering and Technology-Based Industries (CEEMET) and the European Metalworkers' Federation (EMF) will sit on the committee. The Commission, which has already created 37 sectoral social dialogue committees based on a 1998 decision, said it was "pleased" with the establishment of the new consulting group. According to the executive, "close cooperation at European level between workers and employers in a sector is essential," in particular "in periods of crisis and restructuring".

"Part of our social model"

In accordance with Article 138 of the EC Treaty, the Commission is "committed to promote" European social dialogue, both at...

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