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Surviving as health workers in (post) COVID times: The essential need for constructive social dialogue.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, health workers are more than essential, and this is acknowledged by societies globally. However, in many parts of the world we see that health workers are not satisfied with the working conditions. The current situation has brought to light structural problems with their employment conditions and this is shown in diverse protests and strikes. How can the theory on social dialogue contribute to explain and improve the situation of health workers in such a sanitary crisis?
In this paper we aim to explore the reality of health workers under these challenging circumstances and link it to the theory on social dialogue to engage in a double process of contribution: from practice to theory and vice versa. To do so, we first explore the problems encountered, then review theoretical approaches to the study of social dialogue in organizations, an area that has received very little attention in academic literature. We show how constructive social dialogue can be an effective tool for improving working conditions for health workers. Lastly, we elaborate a research agenda in which we include suggestions to further contribute to the practice in this specific and essential sector.