BARSERVICE: Smart bargaining in the services sector: overview, challenges, opportunities

To support capacity building for collective bargaining in the services sector, BARSERVICE seeks to provide a complex analysis of industrial relations in the services sector in 9 countries (6 EU Member States and 3 Candidate Countries). Knowing the current situation, its challenges, and opportunities is the prerequisite for improvements in bargaining processes and coverage. The project will map the structure of collective agreements (which companies have them and what is their content), involvement of unions and employers’ organizations, opinions and views of the social partners regarding (sectoral) collective bargaining, organizing rates, and obstacles to organizing, the power position of trade unions and strategies to combat undeclared work in the service sector. The project will focus specifically on several areas of services: commerce, finance, social care, and publishing. Combining a quantitative and qualitative analysis, BARSERVICE will equally focus on the challenges that the services sector faces in terms of transforming under and emerging from digital and green transitions, especially in the case of social care, the impact of Covid-19 on working conditions, and bargaining. An important aspect of the project will be uncovering the likelihood and incidence of undeclared work and strategies to mitigate it and support declared work via decent working conditions and collective bargaining. The changing economic and labor market context in services after COVID-19 has increased the urgency for social partners to find joint approaches and stimulate mutual learning to find suitable solutions across EU member states and at the EU level to secure improvements in bargaining and bargaining coverage. The project places a high priority on mutual exchange, co-creation, and interactive learning tools among social partners between those member states that have more developed collective bargaining already and those where bargaining in services needs to be enhanced and strengthened.









Qualitative Study and Integrated Study of Non Standard Forms of Employment

Many non-standard forms of employment are not easily identified in labour force surveys or labour market registries. Disguised employment relationships and dependent self-employment; temporary agency work or other multiparty employment arrangements; platform work; and on call work may all be difficult to discern, or have characteristics that are difficult to discern, through standard labour force surveys or labour market registries. One way of dealing with this dearth of information is through primary data collection. In this regard, the ILO has commissioned Maceodnia2025 to undertake a field study and to prepare a report on the non-standard forms of employment in Macedonia. The filed study will be implemented through focus groups and semi-structured interviews both with workers engaged in non-standard forms of employment and employers who use such employment contract/arrangements. Moreover, interviews and focus group discussions will be held also with employers’ organizations and with workers’ organizations (trade unions). Some of the research questions include: What is the profile of people in the different contractual forms mentioned above?; Why are workers in this situation? Is it voluntary, because of greater flexibility, for example, or is it because no other options are available?; Why do firms avail themselves of the non-standard forms of employment above? Flexibility, to avoid taxes, nonwage costs?; Are workers happy with the situation?; What policies could lead to a reduction in non-standard forms of employment?; Do employers negotiate with worker organizations the scope of nonstandard forms of employment in the firm?

There are two main written outputs of the project: 1) Qualitative primary study (narrative report) with the main findings of the filed research and 2) Integrative report which will combine the findings from the economic analysis (analysis of the Labour Force Survey on non-standard forms of employment), a legal study and the qualitative primary study. The latter will also include policy recommendation. The Ministry of Labour and Social Policy will be the primary user of the reports and recommendations, which should feed into the new Labour Law that is currently under preparation.

PERHOUSE: Personal and household services (PHS) in Central and Eastern European Countries: Improving working conditions and services through industrial relations

The PERHOUSE seeks to improve working conditions and personal and household services through industrial relations in Central European countries.

The PERHOUSE project seeks to analyze the current characteristics and challenges related to service provision and working conditions in the personal and household services (PHS) sectors in the Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries. Demand for PHS has been increasing within the broader trend of de-institutionalizing the care sector due to the lack of available services in integrated care and non-care services. Understanding and strengthening the role of industrial relations would improve the working conditions in the PHS sector in CEE countries. It would also help systematize the workplace’s fundamental definitions and set benchmarks for the quality of services, working conditions, and access to care and non-care services provided in home settings. In turn, regularisation of the sector would facilitate integration into broader industrial relations structures for seeking multiplier effects on the provision of care and non-care-oriented services by public and private providers, would contribute to tackling the high share of undeclared work in the sector and to providing decent working conditions to PHS workers.

The project has a strong regional focus on CEE. It will be carried out at the EU level and in 12 countries: Poland, Estonia, Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary, North Macedonia, Romania, Croatia, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovenia and Bulgaria. Data will be collected via surveys and qualitative interviews both at the national and EU levels, processed in the form of research reports and policy briefs, and innovative dissemination materials, including audio-visual tools and exchanges among social partners and other EU-level and EU-level national- level stakeholders via project meetings and workshops.

The general objective is the explore industrial relations to improve the working conditions and services in the PHS sector of CEE countries.


  • Address the challenges of working conditions and services in the PHS sector of CEE countries.
  • Deepen the analysis of industrial relations and the potential of social dialogue in the PHS of CEE countries.
  • Provide a comparative analysis of national experiences in IR and working relations in PHS and explore the link to EU-level social dialogue structures.
  • Promote awareness of the industrial relations practices related to the PHS sector.

The project will respond to the following research questions:

RQ1) What is the current state and structure of service provision of PHS in CEE and what are the working conditions in the PHS sector?

RQ2) What is the role of social dialogue in regulating and improving the work patterns in the personal and household services (PHS) sector of domestic workers in Central and Eastern European countries (CEE)?

Project leading partner: Central European Labour Studies Institute (CELSI, Slovakia)


Foundation MK 2025 (MK 2025) (North Macedonia)

Centre for Organisational and Human Resources Research, Faculty of Social Sciences (FSS), University of Ljubljana (UL) (Slovenia)

University of Tartu (UT, Estonia)

Marie Curie Sklodowska University (UMCS, Poland)

European association of service providers for persons with disabilities (EASPD, EU level, Belgium)

Faculty of Humanities, Charles University, (CU, Czechia)