Multinational companies and collective bargaining
Multinational companies (MNCs) are significant employers across Europe, with corresponding influence in national collective bargaining systems. The international organisation and management structures of MNCs – and their capacity to move production and jobs across borders – have implications for the structure, agenda and outcomes of collective bargaining. This study finds that under multi-employer bargaining arrangements, MNCs have been a major source of pressure for decentralisation, giving greater scope for company negotiation. In relation to single-employer bargaining, MNCs often set the pace. Moreover, they make widespread use of cross-border comparisons of costs and performance in local negotiations in manufacturing. The result is the implementation of cost-saving and flexibility-enhancing measures, particularly in the context of company restructuring. Relocations – actual and threatened – heighten the coercive pressures of MNCs on local negotiators.
The study was compiled on the basis of individual national reports submitted by the EIRO correspondents. The text of each of these national reports is available below. The reports have not been edited or approved by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. The national reports were drawn up in response to a questionnaire and should be read in conjunction with it.