The Social Dialogue Model Is Slanted Steeply Toward the State
In Estonia, the key role in developing a social dialogue is in the hands of the state, insofar as both administration of the institutions engaged in the dialogue, and regulation of legislation and the job market. Thus the model for social dialogue tends to be disproportionately slanted toward the state and social partnerships are tagging along, as it were.
Social partnerships have not had to win their place in the process; the initiative comes from above not from the grass roots. A small group of people from the Ministry of Social Affairs and central social organizations are engaged and paid salaries for developing and holding the dialogue. In addition, the dialogue’s framework was based in many respects on models in other countries and not based on local practice and demand, since there is yet to be grass-roots pressure and interest in work-related issues. Yet a social dialogue model erected on Western models requires strong social organizations. Among the most serious problems facing Estonian organizations – both central bodies and their affiliates – is the lack of resources. There is not enough people or money to effectively fill the framework of the social dialogue and play the role of partner that is proffered by the state.