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This summary presents the main findings of the report 'The Europeanisation of industrial relations in a global perspective: A literature review'. These include the internationalisation of finance capital and integrated production (‘global sourcing’) and the fact that intensified international trade and competition and increased exit options for capital have weakened the role of the state as a regulator in industrial relations. It outlines the challenges posed by globalisation, such as the erosion of the traditional socio-cultural milieus of the workers’ movement, and a realignment of collective identities. It explains that Europeanisation is taken to mean the development of a complementary layer of actors, structures and processes at a European level and examines the roles of the main players. It draws a number of conclusions based on its findings.
The report reviews the literature on the impact of globalisation and European integration on industrial relations, especially within Europe. In particular it discusses the extent to which industrial relations systems are themselves being ‘Europeanised’. The analytical framework provides an overview of the connections between globalisation, European integration and the various processes of economic and social modernisation which are influencing changes in society. The report presents different theories of industrial relations and considers several aspects of the Europeanisation phenomenon: European works councils, EU-level employment policy, European social dialogue, European coordination of collective bargaining and the involvement of the various actors in European economic, social and employment policies.
In August 2002, two researchers at the Swedish Institute for Labour Market
Policy Evaluations (Institutet för Arbetsmarknadspolitisk Utvärdering,
IFAU) - Professor Jonas Agell and Helge Bennmarker - presented a report
entitled Wage policy and endogenous wage rigidity: a representative view from
the inside . The study was based on a representative survey of human
resource managers in 885 Swedish firms, carried out in cooperation between
IFAU and Sweden Statistics (Statistiska Centralbyrån).
The 1990s witnessed the rapid development in Poland of chains of large
supermarkets, or hypermarkets, operated by foreign-owned companies
(principally from Germany and France). In 2002, there are approximately 20
foreign retail chains with operations in Poland; between them, they run some
400 large outlets employing around 80,000 Polish workers. Trade unions have
experienced considerable difficulties in establishing a presence in these
firms, while research carried out by the State Labour Inspection indicates
that foreign hypermarket chains frequently do not abide by the Polish Labour
From 24 to 26 October 2002, the IG Metall metalworkers' trade union held a
conference on working time policies entitled 'Good work, to have time,
available time' ('Gute Arbeit, Zeit haben, Zeit guthaben '), which took
place in Mannheim and involved some 500 participants. The context was the
fact that the current framework agreements on working time for 3.5 million
employees in German metalworking may, if they so decide, be terminated by
either of the parties to the agreements from 30 April 2003. Termination would
precipitate bargaining on the issue, during which the parties would be able
to take industrial action.
On 13 July 2000, the Swedish government commissioned the National Institute
for Working Life (Arbetslivsinstitutet, ALI) to conduct a study to examine a
possible overhaul of several important aspects of labour law legislation
related to job security (SE0008158N ). Subsequently, in October 2001, the
government added to the remit of ALI's work a review of the legislation on
parental leave, concerned that workers taking such leave lacked sufficient
job protection (SE0111103N ).
In October 2002, the Labour Court (Arbeidsretten) ruled  that the 11
Norwegian municipalities which had transferred their occupational pension
schemes from the municipally owned insurance company Kommunal
Landspensjonkasse (KLP) to private insurance companies, had breached the
Basic Collective Agreement in the municipal sector. The 11 municipalities
have until 1 July 2003 to re-establish pension schemes similar to those in
operation before the transfers took place. The Court’s ruling has
significant practical implications, given that several other municipalities
had signalled a desire to transfer their pension responsibilities if allowed
by the Court. It is also an important ruling of principle, in that the
'demarcation line' between collective agreements and competition law has been
drawn up. The decision will most probably also have political implications.
The government has signalled its intentions to provide opportunities for
other insurance companies to offer the type of pension schemes that the
municipalities are required to make available for their employees.
According to research published in autumn 2002, despite some narrowing of the
gap between 1998 and 2000, the wages of women and foreign nationals in the
Netherlands still lag behind those of male Dutch nationals. The average wage
gap between women and men was 15% in 2000, compared with 18% in 1998. Around
a third of the gender wage gap remains after factors such as education and
experience have been discounted, while researchers highlight labour market
segregation into 'male' and 'female' sectors. On average, foreign nationals
from outside western Europe receive far lower wages than other workers, but
experience a narrower gender wage gap.
In November 2002, Luxembourg's Minister of Labour and Employment presented a
new bill dealing with collective labour relations, the regulation of
collective labour disputes, and the National Conciliation Office. The bill
redefines the controversial concept of the'national representativeness' of
trade unions, while at the same time professionalising the work of the
National Conciliation Office and setting up a national industrial relations
The European Commission has recently financed a project on /Industrial
relations in the construction sector in CEE states/. Here we summarise the
key points of the study on Hungary, which was prepared by László Neumann
and András Tóth, in cooperation with Linda Clarke.