Sub-principle 3.A

Support and participate in inclusive dialogue and consultation


Why is it important?


The Sustainable Development Goals stress the need to work in multi-stakeholder partnerships; adopt cross-sectoral approaches; and focus on localised, context-based approaches while targeting the bottom of the pyramid. Developing inclusive dialogues and consultations is complex due to the disparity of contexts, the diversity and lived experiences of the different actors, and the inherent power imbalances that exist. Greater participation of trade unions helps bring workers into dialogues and consultations to ensure context-adapted solutions; build trust and joint problem solving; and lay the foundations for further social dialogue beyond the specific PSE project. Trade unions have extensive experience in inclusive dialogue and consultation processes and bring valuable practices to any consultation process. 

Self-reflection questions
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  • Has the PSE project committed to regular inclusive dialogue and do you know what this entails? Are you able to be part of the consultations? How are workers involved in the consultation process?
  • Has the PSE partnership developed codes of conduct, an agreement on terminology, an agreement on the type and frequency of communication between partners, and conflict resolution mechanisms for these dialogues and consultations with workers’ representatives, beneficiaries and affected communities? 
  • Is the informal sector also included in dialogues and consultations? Is there a way to support their involvement? 

Actions to consider
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  • Nominate representatives to be involved in dialogues and consultations. 
  • Engage in (bipartite) social dialogue and collective bargaining with the private sector.
  • Participate in national tripartite institutions and national dialogue processes together with the private sector (employers, chambers of commerce or others) and national and local governments.
  • Participate in regular consultations organised by national governments and development partners.

Pitfalls to avoid
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  • Assume that communication is clear and understood by all partners.
  • Assume that social dialogue already features in all the PSE projects you are exposed to.


The National Organisation of Trade Unions (NOTU) began to advocate dealing with the informal economy in Uganda in a context where the labour legislation did not recognise informal economy workers and the authorities were generally unwilling to negotiate. With more than 85% of salaried workers employed in the informal economy, NOTU focused its efforts on promoting decent working conditions for these workers and ensuring their representation in social dialogue spaces. NOTU significantly increased its membership by incorporating informal economy workers, organising them within unions in the transport, agriculture, fishing, domestic work and street trade sectors. This increased NOTU’s power and influence in social dialogue processes.

The dialogue succeeded in raising government authorities’ awareness about various issues affecting workers in the informal economy. Informal workers’ organisations are now able to negotiate for better market stall rentals, access to health services, transport infrastructure, etc. They have also managed to reduce police harassment and disputes. NOTU’s participation in tripartite spaces succeeded in preventing the liberalisation of the pensions sector, and informal workers gained access to social security benefits.

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