On 2 March 2023, the Social Dialogue in Defence of Vulnerable Groups in Post-COVID-19 Labour Markets (DEFEN-CE) organized the Midterm Seminar in Vilnius, Lithuania, in which partners gathered together to share their preliminary findings of national-level qualitative research and plan for reporting and disseminating the results of the project. During the morning session, a poster presentation was utilized to communicate research findings so far. Twelve printed posters summarizing the preliminary findings from 12 countries including Sweden, Finland, Czechia, Slovakia, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Latvia, Lithuania, Serbia and Turkey were presented and discussed. Partners shared their research experiences and insights on the aspects of vulnerable groups and the role of social dialogue in influencing policies and COVID-19 measures aimed at protecting vulnerable groups in labour markets. The studies raised a wide range of topics to be analysed further and highlighted both similarities and differences across countries during the extended period of Covid-10 waves. In the afternoon session, teams brainstormed on individual country reporting, two-country comparisons, EU-level reporting, and how to prepare policy brief papers for European Commission. This was followed by a discussion on wider dissemination of the research findings, incl. stakeholder webinars, publications, video production, and national policy briefs. Deadlines for reports, dissemination events, and the final conference in Brussels were agreed upon by all partners.
The Midterm Seminar was hosted by Inga Blaziene and her team at the Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences, Lithuania. Partner organizations participating in this Seminar included the University of Helsinki, Finland; the Tampere University, Finland; the University of Stockholm, Sweden; the Central European Labour Studies Institute (CELSI); the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany; the FONDAZIONE ADAPT, Italy; and, the University of Belgrade, Serbia.
On September 6, 2022, the DEFEN-CE project, led by the Central European Labour Studies Institute (CELSI), invited experts from the EU member countries and Turkey and Serbia to participate in an online workshop on methodology guidelines for the DEFEN-CE database. During the workshop, participants were advised about the selection and scopes of the policies relevant to the project that experts are expected to identify and collect, the key areas of indicators including policy, target groups, and social partners’ involvement, and the data collection guidelines. In line with the project’s implementation plan, data collection by the experts will take place in the autumn of 2022.
The first meeting of all project partners of the Social Dialogue in Defence of Vulnerable Groups in Post-COVID-19 Labour Markets (DEFEN-CE) was held in Helsinki on December 2nd, 2021. The meeting was organized, on-site and online in parallel, focusing on establishing a common understanding of the aims, tasks, administration, and deliverables of the project and determining platforms for successful project collaboration.
The kick-off meeting was led by Professor Minna van Gerven, Overall Project Coordinator, from the University of Helsinki and Doctor Marta Kahancová, Scientific Coordinator, from the Central European Labour Studies Institute (CELSI). Participants from project partner organizations including the University of Helsinki and the Tampere University, Finland; the University of Stockholm, Sweden; the Central European Labour Studies Institute (CELSI); the Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences, Lithuania; the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany; the University of Belgrade, Serbia; and the FONDAZIONE ADAPT, Italy provided inputs to the overall management and expectations of the DEFEN-CE and gave an overview of vulnerable groups affected by COVID-19 measures and the role of social partners in their project countries. Decisions concerning project planning and next steps were made.
“The DEFEN-CE: Social dialogue in defence of vulnerable groups in post-COVID-19 labour markets” is a research project funded by the Directorate-General for Employment, the European Commission. The project investigates the experience of various stakeholders with the design and implementation of COVID-19 related policies relevant for work and employment in the EU member states and two candidate countries, Serbia and Turkey. The aim of the project is to identify the role of social dialogue in facilitating policy implementation that addresses labour market situation of vulnerable groups, such as women, migrants, young people and workers in precarious jobs, in the post-COVID-19 labour markets.