IRSIE - Industrial Relations In the Social Integration Entreprises

15th November 2003 - 15th December 2004

The project IRSIE - Industrial Relations within the Social Integration Economy groups together for a period of thirteen months, operators, trade unions and employer representatives working in the social economy, particularly in the social economy insertion (EIS).

Description of the project:

At the moment, the sector of the social economy, despite few people know this, represents 8% of the European enterprises, 10 million salaried people, 25% of EU citizens, be it in quality of producers, consumers, investors, tenants, people insured, … The the social integration economy sector, as it is presented in the project, counts more than 1.500 enterprises and 220.000 salaried people. The aims of social integration enterprises are social integration and active citizenship through the maximisation of profit, considering human being at the heart of the economic system, having a strong educational dimension and developing solutions in domains where neither the State nor the capital economy managed to do it. The full development of the sector and the capacity to "undertake differently" have therefore increased and complicated the relations and the links between enterprises, workers and the civil society. The meetings of the different actors favour the relations and the exchanges on the different experiences and provoke several debates, discussions and comparisons.

At the beginning, the project studied and analysed industrial relations on a national level, later at a European level. At the national level, and this can be an example of the analyse methodology, we chose Belgium. Each party, who is an active partner in the Belgian relations and social dialogue wanted to explain its points of view and actions in the specific domain to the European partners and ENSIE members. These experiences let us understand their strengths and weaknesses and define a tool of analysis of the "industrial relations". The reflexion on this point which would have to be applied on the European scale, also implicated all the other European partners present in the project. And indeed, in the next phase, they experimented the tool: a grid of questions to be experimented on their national / regional case. With this grid, they sought to highlight the different levels of action of the trade unions and the initiatives really put in practice, while trying to look beyond the appearances.

The national and regional cases studied, as well as all the reflexions linked to them, became the basis of a text of presentation of the final recommendations/conclusions presented in a European seminar where many of the other social partners were present.

Partners in the project:

ENSIE Asbl (European network), promotor of this project. It gathers the large majority of the social integration enterprises of the European Union. Thirteen national or regional networks of social integration enterprises which are part of the network, were present in this project.
Contact person: Patrizia Bussi

IDEES asbl - Social Economy European Development Institute, social economy courses and international relations institute wich represents the Regional Solidarity and Development Fund, FOSODER scrl establishesd by Industrial Trade Union FGTB representatives in Verviers (Belgium) to develop regional economy and selfmanaging and democratic companies.
Contact person: Benoit Willems

Tel: +32  (0) 87 33 74 88

Fax: +32 (0) 87 34 01 55


SST (Cooperative for Social Employment), a federation coordinating sheltered workshops in Flanders (Belgium) and representing the patronal side in the Belgium dialogue.
Contact person: Katrien Van Den Broucke

Tel: 0032 9 259 97 66
Fax: +32 (0 9 259 97 68


  • Grid Analisys on social dialogue in the participant countries
  • National best practices:
    • Best practices in Austria - bdv;
    • Best practices in Belgium - RES (Wallonia);
    • Best practices in Belgium - SST (Franders);
    • Best practices in France - CNEI;
    • Best practices in Germany - Bag Arbeit;
    • Best practices in Ireland - DBD;
    • Best practices in Italy - CECOP (Federsolidarietà);

    • Best practices in Italy - Consorzio Sociale Abele Lavoro;
    • Best practices in Luxembourg - CO-LABOR;
    • Best practices in Portugal - Animar;
    • Best practices in Spain - ACEI (Catalonia);
    • Best practices in Spain - CONPEEI;
    • Best practices in United-Kingdom - CESI.