Flexicurity and industrial relations - Pedersini (Roberto)
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Flexicurity and industrial relations - Pedersini (Roberto)

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Quality of work in Europe : 2010 and beyond ?

Quality of work in Europe : 2010 and beyond ?

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  • 1. Flexicurity and industrial relations Roberto Pedersini Lyon 2-3 October 2008
  • 2. Aims
    • Illustrate the approach to flexicurity at EU level
    • Provide an overview of the different national approaches to flexicurity
    • Describe the role of the social partners and industrial relations in flexicurity policies
    • Reference : EIRO CAR on Flexicurity and industrial relations
  • 3. An appealing concept
    • Flexicurity evokes a joint commitment to and the implementation of both flexibility and security
    • It is a perfect candidate to represent the European aspirations to combine economic dynamism and social cohesion
    • It started as a ‘model’, it has become a policy objective/orientation
  • 4. An integrated flexicurity approach (EC 2007)
    • Flexible and reliable contractual arrangements (from the perspective of the employer and the employee , of “insiders” and “outsiders”) through modern labour laws, collective agreements and work organisation;
    • Comprehensive lifelong learning (LLL) strategies to ensure the continual adaptability and employability of workers, particularly the most vulnerable;
    • Effective active labour market policies (ALMP) that help people cope with rapid change, reduce unemployment spells and ease transitions to new jobs;
    • Modern social security systems that provide adequate income support, encourage employment and facilitate labour market mobility. This includes broad coverage of social protection provisions (unemployment benefits, pensions and healthcare) that help people combine work with private and family responsibilities such as childcare.
  • 5. Flexicurity policies in the EU National flexicurity patterns and country clusters Note: EPL = Employment protection legislation; LLL = Lifelong learning; and LMP = Labour market policies. Source: European Commission, 2006, p. 106
  • 6. Divergent policies, convergent paths?
    • No polarisation of flexicurity strategies: both flexibility and security
    • Incremental strategies rooted in national developments
    • Some limited convergence: more security for atypical employment; lifelong learning and employability; activation of job seekers
    • Flexicurity does not represent an overarching and shared goal
    • Exceptions are Nordic countries and NMS: a crucial role for security? Flexibility is more contested?
  • 7. Flexicurity between labour market and industrial relations
    • Broad EU definition has two impacts:
      • Assigns a central role to social partners and industrial relations
      • Multiplies the possible ‘models’ of flexicurity
    • The role of social partners:
      • Social concertation  the political dimension
      • Collective bargaining  the regulatory dimension
      • Unilateral action  the unilateral dimension
  • 8. Industrial relations and flexicurity
  • 9. The views of the social partners
    • Flexicurity as a way to overcome confrontational attitudes via ‘win-win’ solutions?
    • Traditional patterns and positions pro-flexibility vs. pro-security are reproduced and possibly strengthened:
      • ETUC’s position
      • Parallel discussion of the green paper on modernising labour law has focussed the attention on contractual relationships
      • Widespread convergence on traditional non-controversial issues, such as training
  • 10. Collective bargaining
    •  Try to avoid the position that all ‘bargained flexibility’ is flexicurity
    • Flexibility of pay: flexible pay scheme in the Austrian metalworking sector which favours low paid workers and performance
    • Working time flexibility: various forms of education leave, reduced hours and leave periods for caring needs, exchange for employment guarantee, annualisation of working time and open-ended contracts
    • Training and job placement: skill assessment and development plans, obligation and rights to education, training and outplacement, training and ageing workforce
    • Regulation of contractual flexibility: part-time work, temporary agency work
  • 11. Final remarks
    • Flexicurity creates room for confrontation and not only for convergence of interests
    • The broadening of the meaning has some implications:
      • It brings together policies which have their own ‘reference communities’ and mechanisms
      • More ambiguous concept and more scope to support specific interests and interpretations
      • It loses its guiding capacity
      • Requires a great deal of mutual trust (that both objectives are pursued): what happens if trust is not already there?
    •  Crucial guarantee role to be played by public authorities