Food and drink manufacturing and processing (FDMP) is the largest manufacturing sector in the European Union, and holds particular importance in Cyprus, Greece, Ireland and Bulgaria, where it accounts for more than 20% of their manufacturing industries.
FoodDrinkEurope, which represents the interests of the European food and beverage industry, partnered with EFFAT, the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions, to publish its research report on employment and skills in the industry.
Among its recommendations, the report said: “The European Commission needs to recognise the importance of the FDMP sector to the EU economy and should develop a specific strand of industrial policy that supports the further development and growth of the sector in the future and values its specific features.”
The report also called for more innovative approaches to recruitment, as the sector’s workforce has been ageing over recent years.
Speaking at an event presenting the research in Brussels, Chair of FoodDrinkEurope’s Social Dialogue Platform, Michael Andritzky said: “In some European countries, demographic change has already affected business practice. The recruitment of new employees, the further development of existing staff and keeping the skillset of older staff up to date are huge challenges for companies.
“In almost all other countries, these issues will be lining up in the near future. With our project we want to showcase how companies adapt and we hope that other companies will benefit from this experience. Through these efforts, the social partners can have a successful impact depending on national circumstances.”
Harald Wiedenhofer, EFFAT General Secretary said: “Supporting greater use of social dialogue between the social partners in the FDMP sector should be encouraged. Social dialogue has made a significant contribution to the design of effective solutions to labour market and skills challenges in the EU countries where it has been used.”
The full report is available here (pdf).