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Edited by Friederike Welter and David Smallbone
Chapter 4: SMEs and Social Dialogue in the New Europe: The Case of Hungary
David Smallbone, Zoltan Roman and Robert Blackburn INTRODUCTION This chapter is concerned with the role of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in social dialogue in the New Europe, with particular reference to the case of Hungary. It focuses on the nature and extent of the involvement of SME owners/managers and their employees in the social dialogue and the challenges this brings. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), social dialogue includes ‘all types of negotiation, consultation or exchange of information between or among governments, employers and workers on issues of common interest, related to economic and social policy’ (http://www.ilo.org/public/english/dialogue/ themes/sd.htm). An alternative but similar definition is that it is a ‘process by which the representatives of employers, workers and government exchange information and views, consult, negotiate and reach agreements on issues of concern to them’ (Kenworthy and Kittel 2003, p. iii). Hence, the main goal is to promote consensus building and democratic involvement among the main stakeholders in the field of employment relations, although it can also have a role in providing a forum for consultation and dialogue on issues of common interest. Social dialogue can exist as a tripartite process with the government involved as an official partner or on a bipartite basis between labour and management or their representative organizations. Moreover, social dialogue can take place at the crossnational, national, regional, sectoral or enterprise level. The definitions included above are broad and reflect what is generally recognized as social dialogue within individual countries. However, at the European...
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