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The Social Partnership Agreement (SPA) in Ireland

  • Responsible Organisations: The Department of the Prime Minister (Taoiseach) (Government); Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC) / Construction Industry Federation (ICIF) (Employers); Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) (Trade Union)
  • ILO Regions: Europe and Central Asia
  • Country(ies): Ireland
  • Thematic areas: Policy coherence; Strengthening workers' and employers' organisations
  • MLFLM: 1.(a),(b); 2.; 4.; 5.; 7.; 12.; 15.; 2.; 6.


In Ireland, Government, employers, voluntary and community organisations and trade unions engaged in Social Partnership negotiations in order to reach multiannual agreements covering various issues that affect the country's social and economic development. Under the 2003-2005 Agreement, titled 'Sustaining Progress', it was agreed to develop a comprehensive migration policy framework focused on labour market coordination, racism in the workplace, and the review of the 1971 Employment Agency Act. One of the Agreement's most significant outputs was the publication of the National Action Plan Against Racism (2005-2008), which provided strategic direction to combating racism and to promoting a more inclusive, intercultural society. The last (2006-2015) agreement, 'Towards 2016' prioritised English language training for migrants and economic migration policy, among other items. The formal process of national social partnership no longer exists, and while the Government does not intend to return to the rigid social partnership process of the past, engagement continues in a wider process of social dialogue on an on-going basis. The primary contact point for these interactions is the Minister with functional responsibility.


last updated on 04.05.2015^ top