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Changing business landscape and industrial relations in the EU electricity sector

November 2012

Comparative study  [ pdf version size 405 kb ]

The electricity sector in Europe has undergone radical reform since the mid-1990s. Within the framework of the broader energy sector, a series of EU Directives has accompanied the liberalisation of national markets and the establishment of an internal electricity market under a common regulatory framework. The business landscape has changed from one in which national markets were dominated by monopolist operators to an integrated EU market with large companies on a continental, and increasingly global, scale. In the past decade, EU policies promoting renewable energy sources (RES) in electricity generation, as well as in heating and transport, have contributed to further transform the market structure, with the emergence of new firms, often SMEs, and the progressive dispersion of generating plants. Employment has fallen considerably since the mid-1990s and restructuring and reorganisation have marked the electricity sector ever since. While the business structure has undergone considerable change, industrial relations have remained relatively stable, with continuing high union density rates and collective bargaining coverage.

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.

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Page last updated: 15 November, 2012