Eurofound report on Employment and industrial relations in the agricultural and rural contractors' sector

Eurofound report on Employment and industrial relations in the agricultural and rural contractors' sector

26 June 2017. Eurofound publishes the first EU document evaluating the economic and social role of agricultural and rural contractors in Europe.

Agricultural and rural contractors play a vital role in the European agricultural sector. Rapid changes in recent decades and the process of professionalisation and mechanisation in agriculture have resulted in a wide range of new production methods and an increased relevance of service providers. Consequently, ARCs have developed as a new profession, specialising in consulting and mechanised work.

The study shows that the ARC sector has special requirements for health and safety as well as for the education and training of employees because of the high degree of mechanisation and the use of high-tech equipment.

As far as future social dialogue at European level is concerned, it will be important to continue joint initiatives to strengthen existing national social dialogue structures and to foster the transfer of best practice examples and solutions across national boundaries. The emphasis needs to be on the analysis of different national specifics and problems.

The application of existing European health and safety regulations is considered to be one of the most important measures for the sector in Europe. Furthermore, a vocational training policy jointly fostered by the European social partners seems to be one of the essential instruments for developing a sustainable ARC sector in Europe. Here, the German skilled agricultural services vocational training programme (Fachkraft Agrarservice) proves to be a good approach.
Employment and industrial relations in the agricultural and rural contractor (ARC) sector.

With the increasing socioeconomic relevance of the sector and the potential of contractors as ‘drivers of innovation’ or ‘vehicles of investment’, it is essential to strengthen ARC-sector-related social dialogue at the European level through policy initiatives.

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