The construction industry is characterised by specific elements which distinguish the sector from others. In particular, the fact that:
- it is not the "final product" that moves within the single market, but rather the enterprises and their workforces that have to move to where the "product” is to be constructed;
- it is a labour-intensive activity;
- there is a high mobility of its workforce;
- there are higher risks of (fatal) accidents;
- it is linked to local traditions, climatic and cultural factors;
Due to these specific characteristics, the social partners (trade unions and employers) have a significant role to play in organising and regulating the construction industry via industrial relations.
The wide-ranging representativeness of FIEC was officially recognised in a study undertaken on behalf of the European Commission (2015 Eurofound study on representativeness). The result was that FIEC is the "Social Partner" representing employers in the European Sectoral Social Dialogue "Construction". Its counterpart from the trade unions is the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW).
Our role is not limited to the traditional aspects of industrial relations such as, for example, working conditions, health and safety, social protection, or vocational training, but it is also to develop the long-term sustainability of the construction industry.
Strengthening of autonomous industrial relations within the construction industry is therefore part of our priorities. In this framework, FIEC and EFBWW undertake, on a regular basis, joint projects co-financed by the European Commission’s social dialogue budget line.