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Jobs for the Future: Decent Work for a Competitive Economy

The Lithuanian Confederation of Industrialists has just lauched a project called “Jobs for the Future: Decent Work for a Competitive Economy (Acronum: Future Work) (Project No. 2020/530724) to enhance the concept of ‘Decent Work’ in Lithuania.  Other project partners are Lithuanian Industry Trade Union Federation (LPPSF), Fellesforbundet – the Norwegian Trades Union Federation, and VDI – the Lithuanian Labour Inspectorate and Prof. Dr. Peter Totterdill from the Workplace Innovation Europe CLG (the UK).

The initiative is funded by Innovation Norway, the state development agency, as part of its programme aimed at reducing economic and social disparities in the European Economic Area.  In addition to contributing to the project through its Fresh Thinking Labs platform, Workplace Innovation Europe’s Director, Prof. Dr. Peter Totterdill, has been appointed as Scientific Adviser.

‘Decent Work’ practices are characterised by work-life balance, diversity and inclusion, job security, healthy work environments and ‘employee voice’, all essential building blocks for employee engagement, a culture of trust in the workplace, and workforce development.

Bjørn Gustavsen, an architect of the Norwegian Working Environment Act, argued that ‘good work’ also involves “such characteristics as open communication, freedom in the work role, competence as the basis for making decisions, and willingness to take risks” including co-operation between management and workers, devolved decision-making, and employee involvement in innovation and improvement. According to the European Workplace Innovation Network (EUWIN), established by the European Commission, these characteristics are also associated with high performance, enhanced capacity for innovation and high quality of working life.

As cooperation between employers and trade unions gains strength and has increasing role in European workplace, among objectives of this project is to empower such dialogue in Lithuania. ‚Decent work‘ practices cannot be established unilaterally, therefore strong, effective and action-oriented social dialogue remains indispensable tool.

Peter Totterdill said: “The aim of this project is to support and resource bipartite and tripartite social dialogue in the implementation of the Decent Work agenda.  We aim to do this through a programme of training supported by e-learning, a searchable knowledge bank and awareness-raising, including website development, social media campaigns, and webinars/masterclasses.”

“This project, entitled ‘Jobs for the Future: Decent Work for a Competitive Economy’, is built on evidence that Decent Work is the key to enhanced competitiveness through workforce engagement, greater organisational agility, and the continuous reinvention of products, services and processes.

“However, unlike Norway and the other Nordic countries, Lithuania has a relatively weak social dialogue tradition to support enterprise-level transition, and there is there is little experience or capacity in the type of tripartite dialogue – bringing together workers, employers and policymakers – that has long been established elsewhere.”

Peter Totterdill concluded: “It is very stimulating to see the Workplace Innovation movement continue to grow, especially through the real commitment that cross-border collaboration demonstrates.”

The Lithuanian Confederation of Industrialists believes that Decent Work agenda will help its companies facing the prospect of severe post-lockdown challenges to focus of longer-term competitiveness and innovation.

The Project will be implemented from Febrauary, 2021 till August, 2022.

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