LINKAGE – Labour Market Integration of Vulnerable Age Groups through Social Dialogue

(funded by the European Commission, Employment Social Affairs and Inclusion DG)


All too often, younger and older age groups fall into the category of ‘vulnerable workers’. Together with other factors, including gender and origin, age may contribute to further forms of exclusion as viewed from an intersectional approach.

LinkAge is an action research project developed to examine age in terms of enabling and constraining activities by trade unions and employers’ representatives in Europe. Adopting a ‘rights-based’ rather than ‘needs-based’ approach, LinkAge identifies actions aimed at representation, engagement and active inclusion in relation to ‘active ageing’ and youth employment, framed within the context of recent economic changes, developments in industrial relations and social dialogue.

Using a qualitative methodology and a multidimensional approach, the project promotes social dialogue in terms of discourse and exchange of practice for analysing the current reality and alternative strategies. This facilitates the creation of informed policy recommendations for improvement of labour market integration and working conditions for vulnerable age collectives. LinkAge highlights good practice examples from the study’s six countries and at the European level. A key added value is the participation of trade unions working alongside selected research institutions from Austria, Belgium, Italy, Poland, Spain and the UK.

Objectives and Methodology

LinkAge aims to explore and analyse :

    • To what extent social dialogue represents the interests and needs of older and younger workers in the present context of economic recession

    • If and how ’active ageing’ and positive action policies are promoted in employment, and the efforts by unions and employers to improve quality of life for people over 55

    • How unions and employers’ representatives promote the labour market inclusion of persons under 25

    • The advancement of gender equality within and by trade unions for under 25s and over 55s and how unions and employers’ representatives handle discrimination related to age, gender and other factors of vulnerability

    • The awareness of employment rights and the participation in trade union decision-making among under 25s and 55s

    LinkAge applies a range of innovative methodologies including in depth-interviews with older and younger workers as well as with social dialogue representatives. The main methods applied include :

    • Gathering and analysis of secondary sources and quantitative data on a national and European comparative basis

    • Conduction of about 200 interviews with social dialogue representatives as well as with workers under 25 and over 55

    • Cross-country data analysis structured through Analytical Dimensions as main qualitative indicators

    • Development of transnational knowledge transfer strategy, including ‘Information Exchanges’, where findings will be presented to key stakeholders.


- Universitat de Barcelona -
Dr. Olga Jubany -
Department of Social Anthropology -
Research Group on Exclusion and Social Control [GRECS] : -
European Social Research Unit [ESRU] : -


- Zentrum für Soziale Innovation - Dr Jana Machacova - - Austria

- Universita’ Ca Foscari Di Venezia - Dr. Fabio Perocco - - - Italy

- Université Libre de Bruxelles - Dr. Isabelle Carles - - - Belgium

- Italian General Confederation of Labour - Francesca Carrera - - - Italy

- Aston University - Dr Ajmal Hussain - - - United Kingdom

- NSZZ Solidarność - Adam Gliksman - - - Poland