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Territorial Employment Pact

Gruppo Ágora

Abstract (English)

Initiated in July 1996 and officially recognised in June 1998, the "Territorial Employment Pact" (TEP) of the Brussels-Capital region involves a set of original actions aimed at improving the management of labour markets at the regional level. The social partners, both employers and trade unions, are associated with the Pact as beneficiaries of a number of training measures and through a joint consultative body represented in the partnership that manages the "TEP".


Abstract (italiano)

Iniziato nel luglio 1996 e ufficialmente riconosciuto nel giugno 1998, il "Patto Territoriale per l’Occupazione" ("Territorial Employment Pact") della regione di Bruxelles implica una serie di azioni finalizzate al miglioramento della gestione dei mercati del lavoro a livello regionale. Tutte le parti sociali, sia i datori di lavoro, sia i sindacati, partecipano al Patto in quanto beneficiari di un numero di misure di formazione e attraverso un comune organo di consulenza rappresentato nella partnership che gestisce il "PTE".

1 The practice

1.1 Description of the project

The intercultural component of the "Territorial Employment Pact" is seen in one of their general objectives: “To fight discrimination on the employment market”. The project of the pact is much wider (including the mobilisation of all the actors concerned by employment around a joint project which can permit better coordination of job-creating actions on this specific territory), but includes other specific objectives such as considering the international and intercultural character of Brussels as a development factor of the region in order to build a strong regional identity based on openness and dynamism; reinforcing the resources of the Region of Bruxelles-Capitale within a worldwide context; organising a mixed management of job creation and development that reinforces the promotion of equal opportunities and the fight against any form of labour discrimination; and favouring the mobility of workers in Brussels.


The "Territorial Employment Pact" in Brussels organizes seminars against racial discrimination and develops studies on discrimination which both the public powers and social interlocutors of the region use to determine the characteristics of their social pacts. The "TEP" also monitors the emergence of projects against discrimination of any kind in relation with the labour market within the framework of the Community initiative programme Equal.
This case study focuses on their: Campaign for the battle against discrimination in hiring.
Since 1999, the project has been implementing the action to combat discrimination in labour on the basis of ethnic origin. In the framework of this new plan, an action directed at the intermediaries in the employment market (ORBEm employment advisors, consultants at the temporary employment agencies and consultants from the world of socio-professional insertion) has been undertaken. It includes producing an educational guide: All equal in the hiring market – Fighting ethnic discrimination on the labour market. This guide was presented on 18 September 2002 at a press conference. The objectives of this guide are:

  • To provide the intermediaries in the employment market the tools necessary for a better identification of the components involved in discrimination.
  • To help them to react appropriately to job offers which are discriminatory by virtue of ethnic origin. This guide is accompanied by a training course aimed at consultants on the labour market.
  • The guide All equal in the hiring market – Fighting ethnic discrimination on the labour market is available in a pdf version.
  • Communication actions.
  • Televised spots: in 1999, a series of televised spots illustrating the Pact were broadcast over Télé-Bruxelles and TV-Brussel (repeated at the weekend). An agreement was signed in December 1999 with Télé-Bruxelles and TV-Brussel to set aside some air time for 2000 and 2001 to broadcast other information. Other advertorials are broadcast in 2001 and 2002.

For example :
  • ELanguages Space.
  • Madre, ébénisterie à vocation sociale.
  • Information brochure for the general public: an information brochure intended for the general public (four colours, three pages) has been printed in a run of 5500 copies and is available in English, French and Dutch.

1.2 Time, structure and steps of the project

"Territorial Employment Pacts" (TEPs) are an initiative launched in 1996 by the European Commission in order to increase the impact of the Community Structural Funds on regional and local employment. The general aim of "TEPs" is to involve all parties concerned with labour around a common project that improves the coordination of job-creating actions in a territory. In Brussels-Capital region, the "Territorial employment Pact" aims at improving the management of labour markets at the regional level.

1.3 Place and context

Created in 1989, the Région de Bruxelles-Capitale includes 19 villages and is characterised by an institutional plan for ten types of competences that appear in its bilingual statute. Socio-economic (labour) issues belong to regional competence and are therefore, bilingual. Issues concerning professional training, education, culture, and health are common in communitarian matters. Thus, the application of labour politics is granted by the Regional Labour Office of Brussels (ORBEM). During the late 1980’s and early 1990’s in the region of Brussels suffered a relatively important decrease of job opportunities, which led to a subsequent increase in the number of job seekers. In 1991 some measures were taken in the field of social and professional insertion in this area. ORBEM, together with the Regional Government, was in charge of regulating this plan.

In the Brussels-Capital region, over a 30% of the city's population is of foreign origin. This situation is the source of many prejudices and/or fears concerning the loss of local cultural identity by means of an imagined demographic outnumbering. This collective imaginary protects its cultural paradigm reacting against any difference that might challenge its characteristics. Labour discrimination is one of the many tools that it uses. Moreover, Brussels’ economy is experiencing a radical transformation of its sectoral make-up, owing to its twin roles as the Belgian federal capital and "capital of Europe". Industrial sectors, which were once the engines of regional growth, are thus declining and being progressively replaced by service activities. However, this restructuring of the regional economic fabric is slow and needs to be stimulated by a series of aid and research measures that conciliates the local and international perspectives of the city.

1.4 Target

In 1999, the publication and dissemination of data relating to Belgium in an International Labour Organisation (ILO) survey on discrimination in recruitment produced a series of reactions. The data confirmed that, for the same qualifications and (other) demographic characteristics, employment applications by native Belgians are treated differently than those by Belgians of foreign origin. The ILO survey also led to a round of meetings between the social partners on this subject that had been ignored so far, and launched a campaign targeted at enterprises (see "Et si votre société était aussi riche que la société? Bruxelles au changement de siècle" [And if your company were as rich as society? Brussels at the turn of the century], in Solidarités urbaines, No. 58-59, June 1999). Thus, it could be argued that individuals from different ethnic origin are indeed direct beneficiaries of the "TEP", but only its secondary (though ultimate) target.

1.5 Methodology

The experience of "TEPs" is an interesting example of the emergence of new policies in labour management. It shows the way to the new concerns for the social partners in the future. The partners' involvement, however, requires that they adapt to the new situation. The social partners are often confronted with new issues, such as the fight for equal opportunities. They are also encouraged to examine the diversification their regional fabric considered in its social, educational and economic dimensions. These new issues often do not correspond to those that traditionally prevail in industrial relations systems.
The partners are led to change the perspective of their participation from an "interaction mode" focusing on negotiation to one that is much more characterised by discussion and deliberation. The purpose of "TEPs" is more oriented towards the "project management" of labour matters than to the "joint regulation" of such matters based on settling differences between employers' and trade unions' demands.

1.6 Authors, financing and networks

General information:
Territorial Employment Pact
Isabelle Rauïs
Tel et fax : 32 2 / 505.77.05
e-mail :

Collaborations, networks:
As is suggested by the Guide to "Territorial Empolyment Pacts": ideally, all the partners concerned in the creation of jobs in the territory of Brussels Capital City contribute to the design and implementation of the Pact. This partnership thus involves representatives from businesses, unions and the other local socio-economic players. The participation may not be purely formal, it requires a concrete intervention in the work programme or its financing.
The partnership brings together a multitude of actors directly or indirectly concerned by the employment problematic within the zone.

The initiators:

  • The Minister for Employment of the Government of the Brussels Capital Region.
  • The Minister for Economics of the Government of the Brussels Capital Region.
  • The Economic and Social Council in which the social partners are represented.
  • Bruxelles Formation.
  • The Flemish Department for Employment Mediation and Vocational Training (VDAB).
  • The Training Institute for SME’s (IFPME).
  • The Flemish Institute for Independent Enterprises (VIZO).
  • The Ministry of the Brussels Capital Region.
  • The Brussels Regional Employment Office (ORBEM).
  • The Office for the Promotion of Tourism (OPT).
  • The Regional Urban Development Secretariat (SRDU).
  • The Port of Brussels.
  • The Brussels Regional Development Agency (SDRB).
  • The Brussels Regional Investment Agency (SRIB).
  • Téléport.
  • The Brussels Labour Market and Qualifications Observatory.
  • The Association of the City and the Municipalities of the Brussels Capital Region, CPAS (public social welfare centre) Section.
  • The Association of the City and the Municipalities of the Brussels Capital Region, Municipalities Section.
  • The co-ordination is provided by the Director General of ORBEM.
Other partners, who were not initially associated with the Territorial Employment Pact in the Brussels Capital Region, joined during the course of its implementation:

  • The Federation of Employment Partners (FEDERGON).
  • The Centre for Equal Opportunity and the Fight against Racism.
  • The two Community television networks : Télé-Brussels and TV-Brussel.
  • The Brussels Federations of Organisations for Socio-professional Integration : Febisp and OOTB.

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