In the modern diverse societies where the interests of different groups are not convergent, it is generally accepted that people which are subject to the decisions being prepared should have the possibility to express their needs and to participate in the decision-making process. This fundamental rule shall apply to the way of acting of the broadly interpreted democratic institutions as well as to the world of work.
In the Polish Constitution’s preamble this act is defined: ‘as the basic law for the State, based on respect for freedom and justice, cooperation between the public powers, social dialogue as well as on the principle of aiding in the strengthening the powers of citizens and their communities’. Moreover, the Article 20 of the Constitution states: ‘Social market economy based on the economic activity’s freedom, private ownership and solidarity, dialogue and co-operation of social partners, enacts the basic of economic system of the Republic of Poland’.
The social dialogue entails the involvement of employers, employees and governments into the decision-making process regarding employment and workplace-related issues. This dialogue includes all types of the negotiations, consultations and an information exchange between the representatives of abovementioned groups, on the issues of common interest, related to the economic, labour and social policy. The aim is to create a socio-economic cohesion, legitimised by the society as broadly as possible.
The social dialog may have a tripartite or bipartite form.
The bipartite dialogue between social partners (i.e. the employees and employers) may have the form of collective bargaining or any other form of negotiation, cooperation, preventing and solving of the disputes.
The tripartite dialogue – engages the representatives of employees, employers and government in the discussion on the public issues, projects of legal solutions and other decisions taken, concerning the interests of the employers and employees. The tripartite dialogue may be extended and apply to the other entities (which does not change the term).
The essential terms of effective social dialogue are as follows:
The Social Dialogue Council is the main institution of the national tripartite dialogue. In the voivodship level there are the Voivodship Social Dialogue Councils. The sectoral dialogue has also the tripartite formula.