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Industrial relations europa2010

  1. 1. ISSN 1680-3515Industrial Relations in Europe 2010
  2. 2. Industrial Relations in Europe 2010 European Commission Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion Unit B1 Manuscript completed in October 2010
  3. 3. Neither the European Commission nor any person acting on behalf of the Commission may be heldresponsible for the use that may be made of the information contained in this publication.© Cover photos: 123RFFor any use or reproduction of photos which are not under European Union copyright,permission must be sought directly from the copyright holder(s). Europe Direct is a service to help you find answers to your questions about the European Union Freephone number (*): 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 (*) Certain mobile telephone operators do not allow access to 00 800 numbers or these calls may be billed.More information on the European Union is available on the Internet (http://europa.eu).Cataloguing data as well as an abstract can be found at the end of this publication.Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 2011ISBN 978-92-79-17861-0doi:10.2767/1416© European Union, 2011Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged.Printed in LuxembourgPrinted on elemental chlorine-free bleached PaPer (ecf )
  4. 4. Foreword by the Commissioner The turmoil The distribution of the full cost unions are worrying. In countries that hit finan- of the crisis and the current eco- like Romania, Bulgaria and my own cial markets nomic outlook continue however to country Hungary, limitations in insti- and the econ- raise serious concerns among social tutional capacity translate into limita- omy in 2008 partners. Public debt has risen and tions in the industrial relations system. led to the fiscal consolidation programmes are The EU helps by supporting capacity deepest reces- underway throughout the EU. In building of social partners through sion in the some countries they carry the risk the European Social Fund or through history of the of undermining recovery. Social dia- co-financing of transnational projects.European Union, bringing unprec- logue and collective wage bargaining But I call on Member States and socialedented challenges. Employment have been especially challenging in partners to step up their efforts fur-rates across Europe suffered greatly, countries under pressure from finan- ther and reinforce support for socialbut the involvement of employers, cial markets. Yet it is precisely in this dialogue and collective bargaining.trade unions and governments in difficult climate that social dialoguenegotiations and consultation has can play its fullest role. This year’s At European level, social dialoguehelped to minimise job losses and we report shows that in countries where continues to deliver tangible resultshave weathered the crisis better than social partnership is strongest - like and improvements to European work-feared. This report shows how the Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands ers and companies. The report con-social partners have helped workers and Poland - they are managing to firms that collective bargaining isand companies adapt to the dramatic get through challenging times. The very much present in the EU with twoeconomic situation over the past two participation of their employers and thirds of workers in Europe coveredyears. Strong social dialogue has led workers in shaping concrete policy by collective agreements. Althoughto effective responses like, for exam- responses to the crisis is one of their there is still room for improvement,ple, the introduction or extension important recovery tools. This is why concrete results have been achievedof short-time working schemes in I believe we need to emerge from with EU cross-industry social dia-Germany or the Netherlands and other this crisis with more, not less social logue leading to a number of consul-countries and across various sectors. dialogue. tations, joint actions and successfulIt has also seen genuine progress on negotiations. All of this shows thatissues like the transition to the low- At the same time, the dynamics of both cross-industry and sectoral socialcarbon economy with social partners social dialogue are very uneven across dialogue have an important contribu-in countries like Spain and Belgium Member States. In many of the Mem- tion to make to the EU’s Europe 2020contributing to proposals for invest- ber States that joined in 2004 and strategy, helping to put our economyment in green technologies and skills 2007 for example, the weaknesses of firmly on the path to smart, sustain-to their national recovery plans. employers’ organisations and trade able and inclusive growth. March 2011 László Andor Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion 3
  5. 5. ContentsForeword by the Commissioner ........................................................................................................... 3Executive summary ............................................................................................................................... 7Chapter 1: Variations and trends in European industrial relations in the 21st century’s first decade ........................................................................................ 17 1.1. Introduction ................................................................................................................................................................. 17 1.2. Trade unions ................................................................................................................................................................ 18 1.3. Employers’ associations .............................................................................................................................................. 29 1.4. Collective bargaining .................................................................................................................................................. 34 1.5. Employee representation in the enterprise ............................................................................................................... 42 1.6. Industrial conflict ........................................................................................................................................................ 46 1.7. State and government intervention ........................................................................................................................... 48 1.8. Conclusion ................................................................................................................................................................... 50Chapter 2: The crisis: challenges and social partner perspectives .................................................... 55 2.1. Introduction ................................................................................................................................................................. 55 2.2. Economic and employment dimensions of the crisis .............................................................................................. 55 2.3. Perspectives of the social partners on public policy responses to the crisis ......................................................... 66 2.4. Conclusion ................................................................................................................................................................... 79Chapter 3: Negotiating the crisis: social partner responses .............................................................. 85 3.1. Introduction ................................................................................................................................................................. 85 3.2. Cross-sector level ......................................................................................................................................................... 86 3.3. Sector and company levels .......................................................................................................................................... 97 3.4. Conclusion ................................................................................................................................................................. 116Chapter 4: Wage flexibilisation and the minimum wage ................................................................ 127 4.1. Introduction ............................................................................................................................................................... 127 4.2. The level of collective wage bargaining: a trend towards decentralisation? ........................................................ 129 4.3. Variable pay systems.................................................................................................................................................. 134 4.4. The minimum wage ................................................................................................................................................... 139 4.5. Conclusions ................................................................................................................................................................ 143Chapter 5: Industrial relations and the transition to a low-carbon economy ................................ 149 5.1. Introduction .............................................................................................................................................................. 149 5.2. Policies for a low-carbon economy and their employment consequences .......................................................... 149 5.3. The roles of social partners in labour market governance — the analytical framework ................................... 152 5.4. Social partners’ activities related to the transition to a low-carbon economy at national level ........................ 153 5.5. European social partners’ activities related to the transition to a low-carbon economy ................................... 161 5.6. Conclusions ................................................................................................................................................................ 168Chapter 6: European social dialogue developments 2008–10......................................................... 173 6.1. Introduction ............................................................................................................................................................... 173 6.2. The crisis and European social dialogue ................................................................................................................. 174 6.3. Other themes in European social dialogue............................................................................................................. 184 6.4. Conclusion ................................................................................................................................................................. 197Chapter 7: Review of European legislation 2008–10 ....................................................................... 205 7.1. Introduction ............................................................................................................................................................... 205 7.2. Labour law .................................................................................................................................................................. 206 7.3. Health and safety of workers .................................................................................................................................... 214 7.4. Equality rights in employment................................................................................................................................. 218 7.5. Conclusion: future perspectives ............................................................................................................................... 219
  6. 6. Executive summaryThe Industrial Relations in Europe 2010 report reviews determining whether compromise and agreement betweentrends and developments in the collective relationships social partners was possible. Consequently the degree ofbetween workers, employers and their respective represent- consensus or disagreement varied widely between countriesatives over the past two years. It is the sixth such report by and between economic sectors, with conflicts emerging in athe European Commission and builds on the 2008 edition. number of Member States. Lately these disagreements haveAs the period under review coincided with the onset and centred on the necessity and extent of austerity measuresspread of the worst economic crisis in recent history, this to reduce public deficits, the reform of social security andreport looks closely at the way industrial relations systems pension systems and future wage policy. While a generalacross the European Union coped with the crisis, affected consensus has emerged on the need for long-term reformsits course and influenced outcomes. and forward-looking responses to the crisis, the disagree- ments on specific policy measures may stem from a moreThe report illustrates that the economic crisis presented fundamental divergence of views between the two sides ofindustrial relations actors and institutions across the Euro- industry about the root causes of the crisis.pean Union with unprecedented challenges. On the whole,industrial relations in Europe have been shown to be robust Nonetheless the social partners have often been influential inunder strain and have been vital in mitigating the effects of bringing new ideas to the attention of policymakers at all lev-the recession, although not to the same extent in all coun- els, as they are the interlocutors who know best the world oftries. Trade unions and employers’ organisations were recog- work. Throughout the crisis and despite a fair share of con-nised as being major interlocutors for several governments flict, they have forged a remarkable degree of coordinationseeking to respond to the crisis. Together with monetary and and solidarity across Europe, largely resisting the temptationfiscal stimulus policies, negotiation and consultation involv- to call for protectionist national responses. This has also dis-ing the social partners have played a significant role in limit- tinguished this recession from similar events in the past. Ating negative social consequences. However, the importance European level, several agreements concluded by the socialof this has varied considerably across the Member States. partners make a real difference for all workers in the Euro- pean Union, addressing issues such as parental leave, healthThe recession produced its most severe initial impact in and safety at work or inclusive labour markets.countries that were most vulnerable to the financial originsof the crisis, leading to early tensions between social part- In addition, social partners at both national and Europeanners there. As the crisis spread and affected more Mem- level are paying increasing attention to the transition to aber States in 2008 and early 2009, a consensus developed low-carbon economy and they have contributed concretebetween social partners in many countries on the need for proposals for investment in green technologies and skills torapid action to preserve employment and to stimulate the the recovery plans of several Member States. In the long run,economy. This went hand in hand with a better coordinated social dialogue will be crucial for a well-managed and sociallyresponse to the crisis at European level. Social dialogue led just transition to a low-carbon economy. This will also haveto innovative responses in many Member States and sec- a positive impact on the awareness of the need for increasingtors, such as the introduction or extension of short-time specific research and innovation addressing these challenges.working schemes. The success of these measures is evident: Besides contributing to climate change related policy-the overall rise in unemployment has been less severe than making, social partners are introducing a green dimensionhad been feared relative to the dramatic drop in economic into their dialogue, in particular at company level. They con-activity. Many companies across the European Union har- tribute directly to the transition through awareness-raising,nessed the benefits of social dialogue and accompanying labels or research, albeit to different degrees depending ongovernment measures, which enabled them to absorb the the quality of industrial relations in the Member States.shock of the recession through internal flexibility, such asreducing the hours worked, rather than being forced to use As this report indicates, the recession has important conse-external flexibility and having to dismiss workers. quences for the role of the state and public policies in society and the economy. The economic crisis heightens the pressureThe picture is not uniform across the European Union, to modernise public services, which is accentuated by thehowever. Some Member States were particularly hard hit need to consolidate public finances and reduce deficits. Theand experienced massive increases in unemployment, while success of policy measures in the public sector will thereforein others there was hardly a recession at all. Variations in be crucial to Europe’s ability to exit the crisis permanently.the traditional role and strength of different countries’ Important choices need to be made by governments andsocial dialogue institutions were also an important factor in social partners in the process of modernisation and structural 7
  7. 7. Industrial Relations in Europe 2010change in public services. For this reason, the next edition of The final two chapters of the report provide an overview ofthe Industrial Relations in Europe report will look in more developments at European level. Chapter 6 outlines the activ-detail at industrial relations in the public sector. ities of the European social dialogue committees, many of which are actively addressing the consequences of the crisis.For the foreseeable future, the social partners have a vital It reports on the many instruments that are used in the Euro-role to play in the implementation of the Europe 2020 strat- pean social dialogue, from binding agreements to guidelines,egy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Europe which help to make real improvements in the daily lives ofneeds to make full use of the problem-solving potential of the vast majority of workers and companies in the Europeansocial dialogue at all levels if it is to realise its objectives. Union. Finally, Chapter 7 details employment-related legisla-The crisis has shown that the European industrial relations tive developments in the EU, focusing on labour law, healthsystem, in all its diversity and at all levels (company, sec- and safety legislation and equality rights in employment.tor, cross-industry, national, European), is crucial to thesuccess and stability of the European social model and willcontinue to be of importance as the European Union exits Chapter 1: Variations and Trends in Europeanthe crisis and enters a renewed period of growth. industrial relations in the 21st century’s first decadeStructure of the report Earlier trends towards declining union density, decentrali- sation of collective bargaining and greater employee par-The report comprises seven chapters. Chapter 1 gives an ticipation continued, and the company level has becomeoverview of the main characteristics of industrial relations more prominent. Continuity can be seen in the high levelsinstitutions. It reports on the organisation of workers and of employer organisation, bargaining coverage, and a slightlyemployers, collective bargaining, industrial action and state less pronounced role for government in industrial relations.involvement in industrial relations, reviewing variationsand trends since the turn of the century. The picture of industrial relations systems in the EU is one of diversity. The organisation of the social partners, collective bar-The second and third chapters analyse social dialogue gaining over pay and primary working conditions, and indus-developments in the face of the economic crisis. Chapter 2 trial action remain varied. Only where there is scope for EUsets the scene by outlining the main economic parameters intervention — as on employee representation within the enter-of the recession and the policy debates amongst social prise — is some tendency towards convergence apparent.partners in the Member States and at EU level. It examinesthe views of social partners on the crisis and their differ- The power and presence of trade unions is determined by var-ing analysis of its nature and exit strategies, showing where ious factors. The level of membership is an important determi-consensus developed and where disagreement predomi- nant of trade union power, while the structure of membershipnated. Chapter 3 presents the concrete actions agreed on by influences the extent to which unions can legitimately claimsocial partners to address the challenges identified in the to be representative of workers or even of those currently out-previous chapter, their innovations in procedure and the side the labour market. Other factors are the support to tradeoutcome. In some cases, persistent blockage and conflict unions given by the legal framework; unity and cooperationrather than consensus were the order of the day. The analy- inside and outside the union movement; the relationship withsis focuses both on the cross-industry dimension and on other actors; leadership, internal organisation and member-sectoral and company-level developments. ship participation; a coherent value system; and the standing of the unions and their leaders in the eyes of the public.Chapter 4 covers wage bargaining and minimum wages inthe Member States, with a particular focus on the continu- Trade unions at European level demonstrate a high degreeing decentralisation of collective bargaining and the increas- of unity. The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)ing use of wage flexibility in the form of variable payment brings together 64 national confederations. The ETUC issystems. Chapter 5 explores the effect that the transition to represented in each country of the EU-27 and its marketa low-carbon economy will have on industrial relations sys- share at the European level is close to 88 %.tems and the extent to which the topic already features on thesocial partners’ agenda. The chapter also shows how social Overall, trade union membership continued to decline butpartners themselves contribute to the necessary greening of there are large variations between countries. The proportionthe economy and the corresponding restructuring. of union members among all workers across today’s EU-278
  8. 8. Executive summaryfell from 27.8 % in 2000 to 23.4 % in 2008, with unions losing such as national and transnational mergers of firms, a greaternearly 3 million members. This is the result of lower and emphasis on company as opposed to sector bargaining, anddeclining unionisation rates among young people, and the pressure for greater effectiveness in European and globaldifficulty of recruiting and retaining members in the services representation.sector, in small firms, and among those with flexible and fixed-term employment contracts. Consequently, unions are ageing The role, coverage and effectiveness of collective bargainingand increasingly reliant on the public sector. Announced job differs widely across EU Member States. A large two thirdslosses in the public sector are therefore a threat to the unions, majority of European employees are covered by collectiveas this is where they have the highest membership numbers in agreements, but decentralisation of actual pay setting hasnearly all countries. Within this general trend, there are still continued and sector agreements are increasingly beinghuge differences across countries. In 2008, union density var- amended by company-level agreements and arrangements.ied from 68.8 % in Sweden to 7.6 % in Estonia. Trade unions inLithuania, Estonia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland As indicated in the Industrial Relations in Europe 2008have experienced the largest decline in membership since 2000 report, it is the rate of employer organisation rather thanin percentage terms, while union membership has increased the rate of unionisation that determines collective bar-in Spain, Cyprus, Greece, Belgium and Italy. However, only gaining coverage. High bargaining coverage occurs underin Belgium has there been no decrease in the share of union multi-employer bargaining, and requires the existence ofmembers among all workers. organisations of employers with a mandate to negotiate agreements with the representatives of employees.For employers’ associations, discipline and cohesion ratherthan membership are the key issues. National confedera- Statutory employee representation at company level is a keytions of employers in the EU outnumber national union feature of European industrial relations systems. Legal pro-confederations. At the sector level employers’ associations visions are based on Directive 2002/14/EC on informationtend to be more differentiated and numerous than the and consultation. Some convergence towards a broadertrade unions. Collective bargaining is often no longer their range of rights is apparent, yet there is concern that cross-main role. Services and lobbying have become much more border mergers and increased financial risk-taking haveprominent. The organisational centralisation of employ- made works councils and other employee representationers is lower than union centralisation in all Member States bodies less powerful than they once were.as a result of both the lower authority and the greaterfragmentation of employers’ organisations. The state is involved in industrial relations in various ways. The state can influence decisions regarding wages, hours andThree organisations represent employers at the European working conditions. Government intervention is associatedlevel. Businesseurope is the general organisation for businesses with statutory minimum wages, the extension of collectivein all sectors of the privately owned economy. The European agreements and the negotiation of pacts with social partners.Association of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Direct government intervention tends to be a substitute for(UEAPME) represents small and medium-sized businesses coordination by the social partners themselves.in Europe. The European Centre of Enterprises with PublicParticipation and of Enterprises of General Economic Interest(CEEP, Centre européen des entreprises publiques) represents Chapter 2: The crisis: challenges and socialenterprises and organisations with public participation or partner perspectivescarrying out activities of general economic interest. The economic crisis was an unprecedented challenge forAt the sectoral level, there is even more diversity among European industrial relations systems. The economic andEuropean employers’ organisations. However, only a minor- financial crisis presented industrial relations actors and insti-ity of these are employers’ organisations in the strict sense. tutions across the EU with formidable challenges. In centralSuch organisations are mainly found in those sectors where and south-eastern Europe, the worst crisis since the transitiona sectoral social dialogue has developed (see Chapter 6). to a market economy two decades ago proved a hard test for the industrial relations institutions established since then.The density of employers’ organisations is more than dou-ble that of trade unions, but while the level of employer While the magnitude and timing of the recession dif-organisation in the EU appears stable and high, employers’ fered between Member States, EU GDP declined by overassociations are challenged by changes in their environment, 5 % between the first half of 2008 and the first six months 9
  9. 9. Industrial Relations in Europe 2010of 2009. Growth only resumed at the beginning of 2010. There were important sectoral differences in the impact of theThe severity of the crisis varied between countries, ranging recession. The industrial sector was the hardest hit, althoughfrom a GDP decline of 15 % in the Baltic states to small a reduction in hours worked offset some of the decline ingrowth in Poland. The onset of the recession and the timing activity, so that the fall in manufacturing employment wasof renewed growth also differed between Member States. considerably smaller than the decline in output. During the worst of the crisis, public services contributed to sustainingIn most countries, private consumption declined less than economic activity but budgetary austerity measures are likelyGDP, so that purchasing power was an important factor in to put a halt to this role for the public sector.sustaining economic activity. The trend in consumptionreflected wage developments up to the end of 2009, with Social partners agreed at the outset on the need for pub-real wage growth of 1.4 % in the EU in 2009. Contrary to lic stimulus measures, albeit with differences in emphasis.this trend, wages declined, sometimes steeply, in the Baltic Employers’ organisations gave priority to ensuring accessstates, Ireland, Greece and Hungary, and they essentially to credit for companies, measures to reduce labour costsstagnated in Germany, France, Sweden and the UK. and reductions in taxation. Trade unions urged a larger fiscal stimulus, and measures to sustain purchasing powerGrowth in nominal labour costs in the EU was lower in 2009 and to boost public investment.than in 2008, but was 1.5 times above growth in nominal wages.Productivity fell by 2.5 % in 2009 across the EU, and unit labour The degree of consensus and conflict between the socialcosts rose by 3.0 % in real terms in 2009. The crisis had a dra- partners has differed widely between the Member States. Inmatic effect on the public finances of Member States. 12 countries, consensus was dominant. Amongst these are EU-15 Member States with robust social dialogue institutions.Across the EU, public deficits grew from 2.3% of GDP In others, policy consensus has also dominated at least partly,in 2008 to 6.8 % in 2009; in 11 Member States, deficits where tripartite structures have been mobilised and/or jointincreased by over 5 % of GDP. platforms forged between the social partners. In 11 countries, disagreements prevailed. Neither the severity of the crisis norIn general, the employment consequences of the crisis in the the differences in industrial relations systems can explain theEU have not been as severe as might have been expected. dominance of consensus or conflict. These include MemberEmployment dropped by 2.5 % across the EU between States with comparatively weak social dialogue institutions,the second quarters of 2008 and 2010, less than half of the but also countries with traditionally more robust industrialdecline in GDP. Unemployment increased to a record 9.6 % relations systems. In terms of institutional effects, the lines ofin each of the first three quarters of 2010. To a significant similarity and difference between countries therefore reachextent, the recession has been tackled through the internal across the distinction between ‘old’ and ‘new’ Member States.flexibility of companies, by a decline in hours worked ratherthan through redundancies. Short-time working schemesand other collectively agreed adjustments to working time Chapter 3: Negotiating the crisis:played a considerable part in this outcome (see Chapter 3). social partner responsesThe magnitude and timing of the employment decline have Through the processes of social dialogue, employers andvaried between countries, with the Baltic states, Ireland and trade unions have played a prominent role in countering theSpain being particularly hard hit, with a fall in employment impact of the crisis. There is, however, considerable variationwhich mirrored or exceeded the drop in GDP. Workers across countries and sectors. It appears that differences in theemployed on temporary contracts have been more exposed to economic situation have influenced the pattern of negotiatedjob loss than those on open-ended or permanent contracts. responses more at sectoral levels than between countries. The influence of industrial relations institutions is significantThe different outcomes in economic and employment as are public policy and the extent to which social partnersdevelopments are due to two main factors. Economies are involved in it. In a majority of Member States, the cross-underwent different types of recessions, either originating industry social partners attempted to reach agreement onin the construction and real estate sector, causing immedi- measures to address the crisis. Explicit attempts to negotiateate job losses, or caused by a collapse in business confidence bipartite or tripartite national agreements aimed at addressingand trade, affecting primarily manufacturing. Reactions of the crisis were made in 16 Member States. While some focusedsocial partners and public authorities to the crisis differed principally on employment issues such as short-time work andand may explain the outcomes (see Chapter 3). wage moderation, others dealt with a wider range of measures.10
  10. 10. Executive summaryThe magnitude of the crisis in the Member States did not Particular strategic choices of the social partners accountdetermine whether attempts at negotiation were success- for much of the cross-country variation observed. This isful but public policy has played an important role. Exist- apparent in the instances of those new Member States whereing social protection systems and active inclusion policies agreements had not previously been concluded and in thoseprovided a baseline of support during the crisis on which EU-15 countries where agreements have not been concludedsocial partner solutions could be built. In addition to the even though institutional capacity to do so exists.evident role of governments in the conclusion of tripartiteagreements, they have frequently played an important role The pattern of agreements at sector and company levelin supporting bipartite ones. suggests that social partner strategies have been shaped by institutional arrangements for industrial relations as wellCrisis response agreements at sectoral level were influ- as by public policy intervention in the form of statutoryenced by traditional practices and company-level short-time work schemes.agreements were more widespread. Sector-level nego-tiations are confined to a group of countries with well- In several Member States, the crisis led for the first time toestablished multi-employer bargaining arrangements. social partner agreements at a cross-industry level. Insofar asThey also occur mainly in manufacturing sectors, with the crisis has provoked negotiated or concerted responses,relatively little evidence of negotiations in the private where governments or employers might otherwise haveservice sectors. At company level, agreements address- acted alone, an issue is the sustainability of such agreements,ing the consequences of the crisis are spread across a particularly in several central and east European countrieswider range of countries. where they were hitherto unknown. There is no indication at present that the parties envisage further negotiations orWhile real wages increased considerably in 2009, average agreements, but neither can the parties unlearn the process.earnings grew much more slowly. In most Member States At sector level, a striking feature is provisions which enhancethe crisis depressed average agreed pay increases in 2009, competence for wage setting at company level. The crisisbut rarely to a great extent. Declining inflation meant higher may thus prove to have further accelerated the long-runningincreases in real wages. But the effects were felt more deeply trend towards decentralisation.in actual earnings than in the basic pay rates set by collec-tive agreements, owing to reduced working hours and/orcuts in elements of remuneration. Chapter 4: Wage flexibilisation and the minimum wageIn the manufacturing sector, measures have been intro-duced both in specific sector agreements aimed at tack- Wage flexibility has been an important element of debate dur-ling the employment effects of the downturn and as part ing the economic crisis. The degree of wage flexibility dependsof ‘regular’ agreements dealing with pay and conditions to a large extent on factors such as the level and coverage of col-of employment. The main theme was short-time work, lective bargaining, the power relations between trade unionsbut other innovative responses such as ‘employee leasing’ and employers, the use of performance-related pay systemswere also observed. Many agreements related exclusively and the minimum wage. It refers to the extent to which wagesor partly to short-time work. Others involved ‘conces- respond to market forces. This debate about wage flexibilitysion bargaining’, with trade-offs between some form of took on extra importance during the economic crisis.employment guarantee in return for employee flexibilityin terms of pay and conditions. The degree of centralisation of wage bargaining varies widely between Member States. In many countries, theCompany-level agreements in the services sector focused recent trend towards decentralisation of wage-settingon concessions on pay and working conditions, while short- arrangements and towards company and single-employertime work featured relatively little. Agreements were mainly bargaining accelerated during the economic crisis. In gen-concentrated in the civil aviation and post and telecommu- eral, bargaining is more centralised in the public than in thenications sectors. Over a third of the agreements related to private sector. More centralised bargaining leads to morecompany cost-reduction programmes and provided for a equal wages and working conditions. In addition, the per-range of employee sacrifices without employment guaran- centage of employees covered by a collectively bargainedtees in return. Half of the remaining agreements also pro- agreement in countries with more centralised bargaining isvided for pay cuts or freezes, but in return for guarantees in markedly higher than in the countries where company-levelrespect of employment. bargaining is dominant. 11
  11. 11. Industrial Relations in Europe 2010Variable pay systems are increasingly used to provide also put in place its own domestic mix of policies. Theseadditional elements of wage flexibility. More than half of efforts accelerated with the adoption of the Europeanworkers in the EU have some form of variable pay system climate change package in 2008. Europe 2020 confirms(VPS), facilitated by the decentralisation of wage bargain- these commitments and provides an integrated set of poli-ing. While employers are generally positive about VPS, cies to achieve smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.trade union attitudes differ. Some unions see it as a wayto give workers a share in company performance, whereas Not only new green jobs but above all the greening of theothers fear that it may create greater wage inequality and whole economy will involve structural change. It shouldundermine the principle of equal pay for equal work. have a small but slightly positive impact on the over- all employment level, albeit with different effects acrossLow pay affects one out of every 10 workers in the EU and sectors, skill types and regions. Anticipation of futurein general, low pay is a bigger problem in countries with skills needs, responsive lifelong learning systems and well-more decentralised bargaining structures and low collec- managed restructuring processes are important.tive bargaining coverage. The low-carbon economy has come onto the social dialogueIn many countries, the statutory minimum wage has had agenda but remains marginal. Social partner involvementonly a limited impact on the incidence of low pay. Twenty with the low-carbon economy differs from country to coun-Member States have a statutory minimum wage. While the try depending on the organisation of industrial relations andlevel differs widely between countries, the gap between the on the number of years that climate change has been of inter-central and eastern Member States and the EU-15 has nar- est to public authorities, the social partners and the public.rowed slightly in the past few years. Nevertheless, the sevencountries with the highest incidence of low pay all have Social partners mostly act by influencing policymaking, includ-statutory minimum wages. In addition, in more than half ing their own policy proposals. Standard tripartite social dia-the countries, the minimum wage lost value compared to logue bodies rarely address low-carbon economy issues in athe average wage during the past decade. systematic manner. But, in many Member States, social part- ners participate in advisory bodies, such as sustainable develop-In those countries that do not have a statutory minimum ment councils, together with other stakeholders. Some addresswage, the wage floor is set by collective bargaining. In most directly the employment consequences of a low-carbon future.of these countries, low pay is not a widespread problem.The main exception is Germany, where the incidence of low Collective bargaining rarely addresses issues related to thepay is above the EU average, although the government can low-carbon economy. But social dialogue at company level onmake a collectively agreed minimum wage binding for an environment and energy matters seems to be slowly develop-entire sector, and such statutory minimum wages now exist ing. Some workers’ representatives have information, consul-in a number of sectors. tation and sometimes negotiation rights in this respect. In addition, social partners contribute to the implementa-Chapter 5: Industrial relations and the tion of low-carbon policies and practices. In most Member transition to a low-carbon economy States, this direct contribution occurs through training and counselling, awareness-raising campaigns and research andClimate change represents one of the greatest threats facing innovation, often in cooperation with public authorities.the planet. More and more, the transition to a low-carboneconomy has been recognised as a necessity that involves The transition to a low-carbon economy is being ‘main-social and economic opportunities and costs. streamed’ into social partners’ sphere of competence, nota- bly restructuring and skills policies. The state is the mainSocial dialogue can help to create consensus for the tran- actor in the transition to a low-carbon economy and mobi-sition to a low-carbon economy and contribute to a well- lises regulatory, market and financial instruments. It is inmanaged and socially just transition. Social partners can the management of the employment implications wherefacilitate innovation and negotiate solutions for change social partners have direct competence.which are to the benefit of workers and businesses. At the EU level, there is clear commitment by social partnersThe European Union is committed to local and global to dialogue on the economic and employment implicationsaction to control climate change. Each Member State has of the transition to a low-carbon economy.12
  12. 12. Executive summaryEuropean social partners influence policymaking and crisis and the measures needed to address it. A number ofhave started to explore the employment consequences and sectoral social dialogue committees agreed on joint state-related best practices. The European cross-industry social ments, including those for the chemical industry, construc-partners have expressed a keen interest in climate-change- tion, road transport, commerce, live performance, regionalrelated policies and have recently taken a stance on their and local government, woodworking and furniture sectors.employment implications. The ETUC advocates a ‘justtransition’ that is based on tripartite social dialogue, green Many European and national social partners at both cross-and decent jobs, investment, green skills, with an emphasis industry and sectoral level contributed to the public con-on anticipation and management of change, and extended sultation on the Europe 2020 strategy. In June 2010, therights relating to the protection of health and of the envi- Cross-Industry Social Dialogue Committee adopted a jointronment at work. BusinessEurope advocates more flexible contribution, which expressed their belief that a numberlabour markets accompanied by efficient public employ- of objectives will be crucial for successful economic recov-ment services, active labour market policies and training. ery: reform of the global financial system, restoring andAnticipation of future skills needs must be improved, and improving growth dynamics to create more and betterscience, technological, engineering and mathematical skills jobs, promoting skills and entrepreneurship, revitalisingfostered. CEEP and UEAPME focus more on the areas of the single market, developing an integrated EU industrialenergy (efficiency) and transport, and have also contrib- policy, supporting new means of financing for investment,uted to the debate on employment and skills in the low- and combating poverty and inequality, among others. Theycarbon economy. European social partners in six sectors identify social cohesion as a precondition for a dynamic— encompassing gas and electricity, wood, and the extrac- and sustainable economy.tive industries — have adopted joint opinions in order todraw attention to the specific concerns of their sectors. In the European social dialogue, work on the management of change took on special importance. The cross-industryEuropean social partners have also started to study the con- social partners finalised a five-year project examiningsequences of the transition to a low-carbon economy and their role in economic restructuring in the EU. The Socialrelated best practices in their autonomous bipartite dia- Dialogue Committee for the Chemical Industry studiedlogue. The ETUC, Businesseurope, CEEP and UEAPME restructuring in the sector, while the Electricity Social Dia-have launched joint research on the employment dimension logue Committee published a toolkit for socially responsi-of climate-change-related policies and intend to develop ble restructuring.a common view on this topic in order to assess the role ofsocial partners and to draw conclusions on the consequences The cross-industry European social partners signed anfor employment and skills. European social partners in eight autonomous agreement on inclusive labour markets. Thesectors (e.g. electricity) have launched similar activities. aim of the agreement, which will be implemented under the responsibility of national social partners within threeSome transnational company agreements address envi- years, is to make full use of Europe’s labour force potential,ronmental protection and climate issues but as yet there improve job quality and increase employment rates in theare no instances of bipartite autonomous regulation at Euro- face of demographic ageing. It covers persons who encoun-pean level. ter difficulties in entering, returning to or integrating into the labour market and those in employment who are at risk of losing their job.Chapter 6: European social dialogue developments 2008–10 Skills and training continue to be a core area of European social dialogue. European social dialogue committees in 16The economic crisis was the dominant subject of discussion sectors were active in this area. In particular, in 2009 thein many European social dialogue committees. social partners in the personal services sector signed an autonomous agreement facilitating comparison of quali-The past two years were anything but ‘business as usual’ in fications and cross-border mobility. The agriculture andEuropean social dialogue. Discussions about the crisis led hospitality sectoral social dialogue committees are workingto a number of joint actions but also to disagreements. In on initiatives to enhance the transparency and compatibil-March 2009, the Cross-Industry Social Dialogue Commit- ity of skills and qualifications. Five sectoral social dialoguetee failed to agree on a joint declaration due to fundamen- committees have expressed interest in setting up Europeantal differences of opinion about the causes of the economic sector councils for jobs and skills. 13
  13. 13. Industrial Relations in Europe 2010The European social partners have a key role to play in the The Commission took stock of more than 10 years of Euro-second phase of the flexicurity agenda. They are committed pean sectoral social dialogue. After more than a decade ofto jointly monitoring the implementation of the flexicurity experience with European sectoral social dialogue, the Com-principles, evaluating the role and involvement of the social mission published a staff working document assessing thepartners, and drawing joint conclusions. functioning of the sectoral social dialogue committees and proposing possible improvements. The Commission intendsHealth and safety remained an important area of activ- to encourage the European and national sectoral social part-ity for many European social dialogue committees. The ners to fully use their area of negotiation, reinforce theirEuropean social partners in the hospitals and healthcare administrative capacity and create synergies between sectors.sector successfully negotiated an agreement on protection Within this framework, the Commission also encourages thefrom sharp injuries, aiming to prevent injuries to work- integration of new players as well as better participation ofers caused by all types of sharp medical objects (including representatives from the new Member States.needle sticks). For this purpose an integrated approach toassessing and preventing risks, as well as to training and Three new European sectoral social dialogue commit-informing workers, is envisaged. The Personal Services tees were launched during 2010 at the joint request of theSocial Dialogue Committee launched negotiations on a respective European social partners. The first meetings offramework agreement on the prevention of health risks in the committees in the metal, paper and education sectorsthe hairdressing sector. have taken place, while the European social dialogue for central (government) administrations may soon be formal-Mobility remained an important topic for the Cross- ised following a two-year test phase. Social partners in theIndustry Social Dialogue Committee and for sectors with agro-food industry and sports sector are currently explor-a highly mobile workforce. The Cross-Industry Social ing the possibility of sectoral social dialogue committees.Dialogue Committee carried out joint work on the con-sequences of the Court of Justice of the European Union’srulings in the Viking, Laval, Rüffert and Luxembourg cases Chapter 7: Review of Europeanrelating to economic freedoms and fundamental social legislation 2008–10rights of workers. While they agreed on the identificationof key issues, they expressed clear differences of opinion The adoption of a directive on temporary agency work andregarding the consequences of the rulings or the actions the recast European works councils directive were majorahead. Discussions on mobility were held in the Inland achievements.Waterways, Construction, Hospitals, Agriculture, PrivateSecurity and Temporary Agency Sectoral Committees. In the area of labour law, a number of important directives were adopted during the past two years. A major break-In the field of equality, the European cross-industry social through was achieved with the adoption of a new directivepartners successfully negotiated a revised EU framework on temporary agency work, which provides for a signifi-agreement on parental leave. The revised framework agree- cant increase in the legal protection afforded to temporaryment was implemented as Directive 2010/18/EU, which workers while recognising the role of temporary agenciesprovides that each parent will be able to take off four months in promoting greater flexibility in the labour market andper child, with one month non-transferable between par- providing job opportunities.ents. The rights will apply to all workers regardless of theirtype of contract, and employees returning from parental Another success was the adoption of the recast Europeanleave will have the right to request changes to their work works councils directive. The joint opinion of the EU socialschedules for a set period of time. partners expressed during the co-decision process facili- tated swift agreement on the final text. The new directiveFive sectors signed guidelines on third-party violence. clarifies and strengthens the previous legislation from 1994Following the signature of the cross-industry social part- in several respects, particularly regarding the informationner framework agreement on harassment and violence at and consultation rights of workers on transnational mat-work in 2007, the European social partners in the hos- ters. In the context of the economic crisis, this legislationpitals, regional and local government, commerce, private became particularly relevant.security and education sectors adopted multi-sectoralguidelines to tackle third-party violence and harassment In addition, the Commission is undertaking an evalua-related to work. tion of existing directives in order to review their effects,14
  14. 14. Executive summarynotably Directive 98/59/EC on collective redundancies, and safety at work directives such as those dealing withDirective 2001/23/EC on transfers of undertakings and noise, construction and artificial optical radiation.Directive 2002/14/EC establishing a general frameworkrelating to information and consultation of workers in Equality rights in employment are being monitoredthe EU. and strengthened. The Commission continues to place great emphasis on monitoring the correct transpositionThree agreements between European social partners and application of directives in the field of equality. Thiswere implemented by Council directives. The adoption includes Council Directives 2000/43/EC and 2000/78/EC,of Council Directive 2010/18/EU implementing the 2009 which prohibit discrimination based on race and ethnicframework agreement on parental leave concluded by the origin, religion or belief, disability, age and sexual orien-European social partners demonstrated the capacity of the tation in employment and occupation across the EU. Insocial partners — and the EU institutions — to build on the October 2008, the Commission presented a proposal toprevious 1995 agreement, which was also implemented as a amend the current provisions of Directive 92/85/EEC ondirective. The new legislation strengthens and further clari- maternity protection. The aim of this proposal is to pro-fies the rights of working parents to take leave. vide for better reconciliation of private, professional and family life and thus allow more women to enter or stay inCouncil Directive 2010/32/EU implemented the framework the employment market if they have children. In anotheragreement on the prevention of injuries from sharp instru- important development, the application of the principlements in the hospital and healthcare sector, concluded by of the right to equal treatment between men and womenthe European social partners in the sector. The incorpora- will be strengthened for those working in a self-employedtion of this agreement into EU legislation constitutes a sig- capacity, through Council Directive 2010/41/EU.nificant contribution to creating the safest possible workingenvironment in the sectors concerned. Major setbacks and difficulties were encountered in two fields: The failure of the amended working time directiveFollowing a consultation of the European social partners and the interpretation and enforcement of the posting ofin maritime transport by the Commission, they decided to workers directive.negotiate and subsequently agreed on the incorporationinto EU legislation of a substantial number of provisions A major setback occurred when the Commission proposalcontained in the 2006 ILO Maritime Labour Convention. to amend the working time directive (2003/88/EC) wasThe agreement was implemented by Directive 2009/13/EC, withdrawn, after the failure of the Council and Parliamentwhich completes or amends existing EU provisions apply- to agree on a compromise. The proposal sought to identifying to the working conditions of seafarers, including a solution to the difficulties in implementing Court of Jus-working time. tice (CJEU) rulings on the SIMAP and Jaeger cases, as well as to address stakeholders’ claims in regard to extensionIn line with the Commission’s better regulation agenda, of the reference period for averaging weekly working timework continued on the implementation of the EU strat- and the individual opt-out. The Commission responded toegy for health and safety at work 2007–12. In this area the failed conciliation by launching a review of the direc-the developments during the period aimed to ensure a tive including an extensive evaluation exercise and a firstregulatory framework capable of continuously adapt- consultation of the European social partners.ing to change while respecting the principle that leg-islation should be coherent, simple and effective and Another source of difficulties was the interpretation andalso meeting the objective of reducing the administra- enforcement of the posting of workers Directive (96/71/EC),tive burden on companies. An example of this was the including respect for collective social rights. In the wakeadoption of a third list of indicative occupational limit of the CJEU rulings on Laval, Rüffert and Commission vvalues for chemical agents (Directive 2009/161/EU), Luxembourg, the Commission decided to step up its effortswhich shows the determination of the Commission to keep to facilitate administrative cooperation among Memberthe EU health and safety at work acquis in line with the most States, and promote debate with stakeholders. With suchrecent scientific data available. Two ‘codification’ Direc- difficulties in mind, the Commission is reviewing the imple-tives 2009/104/EC on work equipment and 2009/148/EC mentation and interpretation of the legal framework on post-on asbestos stem from the better regulation agenda. Good ing of workers and has already launched (or commissioned)practice guides have been developed, aiming at facilitating several external studies of the legal aspects and economicand improving the practical application of certain health effects of the directive. These studies are still ongoing. 15
  15. 15. Chapter 1: Variations and trends in European industrial relations in the 21st century’s first decadeTrends in industrial relations institutions show a mix of continuity and diversity. thirdly, what the impact of the crisis onRates of trade union density, decentralisation of collective bargaining, employers’ industrial relations might be.organisations and collective bargaining have remained relatively stable. Nationalindustrial relations regimes remain diverse — mainly between the EU-15 and the 12 The chapter starts with a portrait of thenew Member States, but also within them in different country groupings. The effect of main collective actors in industrial rela-the crisis on industrial relations arrangements is not yet clear. tions: trade unions (Section 1.2) and employers’ associations (Section 1.3),This chapter is based on a draft by Jelle Visser of the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced respectively. For each, the main organi-Labour Studies (AIAS, University of Amsterdam) sational features and representation of members (individual workers and firms) will be highlighted. A key insti-1.1. Introduction the contribution of trade unions and tution in the relation between unions employers. Today, at the end of the dec- (workers) and employers (firms) is theThis chapter presents an overview of ade, the agenda is overwhelmed by the collective labour agreement. Sectionindustrial relations in the European challenge of the economic crisis: rising 1.4 discusses main features and trends,Union (EU) during the 2000s. This was unemployment; increased competitive such as coverage, centralisation andthe first decade in which economic and pressures in the private sector; finan- coordination, in collective bargain-monetary union (EMU) was in full cial problems in the public sector; and ing. As important for the managementoperation. In 2004 the biggest enlarge- finding a new path towards sustainable of change and the settling of conflict-ment in the history of the EU took growth, greater productivity, real wage ing interests are the structures andplace, adding 10 Member States, fol- improvements and more jobs. The next practices of employee representationlowed in 2007 by two more, bringing the chapters report on the industrial rela- in the enterprise or workplace. Thistotal to 27 Member States. The decade tions’ response to the crisis at different is addressed in Section 1.5, followedstarted with the EU’s ambitious Lisbon levels (EU, national, sector and com- in Section 1.6 by a description of theAgenda of 2000, it ended with the deep- pany). This chapter reports, firstly, on trends and variations in industrial con-est economic crisis since the 1930s. In the current state of industrial relations; flict. The role of the government is the2009 the economy of the EU contracted secondly, on the main developments subject of Section 1.7. The chapter endsby 4 % and by early 2010 average unem- during the decade; and indicates, with a brief analysis of the likely effectsployment in the EU reached 10 % of thelabour force. In 2010, under pressure Box 1.1: Data sourcesof rising public debts and government The main source used for this chapter is the ICTWSS — Institutional Characteristics ofdeficits incurred during the crisis, many Trade Unions, Wage Setting, State Intervention and Social Pacts — database, which con-countries are preparing austerity meas- tains data on some 100 variables from 1960 to 2009 in 34 countries. The database wasures that include pay cuts or freezes and developed by Jelle Visser and can be consulted at the website of the Amsterdam Insti- tute for Advanced Labour Studies AIAS (http://www.uva-aias.net/). An updated versionsignificant job loss in the public sector. (ICTWSS, version 3.0) is now available (Visser, 2010). Integrated in the database is infor- mation from national surveys, the European Social Survey (http://www.europeansocialsur-In short, the beginning and end of vey.org), administrative data obtained from the unions and from the European Industrialthis first decade present different sets Relations Observatory (EIRO) of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Livingof conditions, expectations and chal- and Working Conditions, in particular the EIRO country profiles (http://www.eurofound.lenges. In the early 2000s the three key europa.eu/eiro/). Also used for this chapter are the two reports on trade union member- ship in 1993–2003 and 2003–08 (…/eiro/2004/03/update/tn0403105u.htm; eiro/studies/issues were the design of national and tn0904019s/tn0904019s.htm), written for the Foundation by Mark Carley, as well as hissector wage policies adapting to a cen- recent report on ‘Development in social partnership — employer organisations’ (…/eiro/tralised European monetary policy; the studies/tn0910049s/tn0910049s.htm). Another invaluable source on employer organisa-promotion of labour market participa- tion in Europe is the 2004 study by Franz Traxler and Martin Behrens, also for the Foun-tion and social inclusion; and the polit- dation (…/eiro/2003/11/study/tn0311101s.htm). The data on employee representation are from the ICTWSS database and from the 2009 European Company Survey, released byical, social and economic integration of the European Foundation in March 2010 (http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/surveys/com-the new Member States, especially the panysurvey/2009/index.htm). The data on industrial conflict are from the ILO’s Laborstapost-Communist countries of central database, combined with Carley’s report for the Foundation on ‘Developments in indus-and eastern Europe (CEE countries). trial action 2005–2009’ (…/eiro/studies/TN1004049S/TN1004049S.htm). The employ-Earlier reports on industrial relations ment data in the ICTWSS database are from the OECD’s Labour Force Statistics (‘Wagein Europe, especially in 2006 and 2008, and salary earners in employment’) and, for non-OECD members, from Eurostat and the Commission’s annual Employment in Europe reports.have reported on these issues and on 17
  16. 16. Industrial Relations in Europe 2010of the crisis on industrial relations. As developments at EU and national level to 23 % in France; and the numberfar as possible, the chapter presents will be indicated. of affiliated unions in the main orrecent data and developments, usually largest union confederation variesrelating to 2008 or 2009. The year 2000 from eight in Germany to more thanor, to avoid outliers, an average for 1.2.1. Union confederations a hundred in Poland. There is not a1997–99, is taken as the benchmark for and divisions in national particular north–south or east–westcomparison with recent years. union movements gradient in these variations. In view of the varied pattern of union organisation it is hard to dis- 1.2.1.1. General and specialised1.2. Trade unions cern any general EU model of trade confederations unionism. Across Member States,The power and presence of trade the number of confederations or Table 1.1 highlights the main divi-unions is determined by various fac- peak associations of trade unions sions. A first distinction can be madetors. The level of membership, in abso- varies from one to nine; the mem- between ‘general’ confederations,lute terms and relative to employment, bership share of the largest confed- which organise throughout the econ-is an important but not the only deter- eration varies from 100 % in Austria omy in all sectors of the economyminant of trade union power. Otherfactors are the unity and cooperation Table 1.1: Number of union confederations,inside and outside the union move- domains and key divisions in 2010ment; the relationship with employ- Total General Divisions Public Servicesers, governments, political parties and Reli- Occu-other social organisations; leadership, # # Political gious pational Regional # #internal organisation and member- AT 1 1ship participation; sound finances; IE 1 1a coherent value system or ideology; LV 1 1and the standing of the unions and UK 1 1their leaders in public opinion (see EL 2 1 1Hyman, 2001; Visser, 1995). The com- EE 2 1 1position of unions and union mem- MT 2 2 Xbership, their representation among SK 3 2 x 1different categories defined by skill, BG 3 2 X 1sector, gender, sector, age, national- BE 3 3 X X xity and status in the labour market is DE 3 2 x 1relevant for understanding the policy LT 3 3 X xchoices of unions, for instance regard- PL 3 3 Xing employment protection, pension NL 3 3 x X xreform, incomes policy or wage set- FI 3 3 Xting (Iversen, 1999; Ebbinghaus and SE 3 3 X DK 4 4 x XVisser, 2000). CY 4 3 X x 1 LU 4 2 X X 1 1The present section discusses, firstly, PT 4 4 Xthe organisational make-up of the CZ 5 4 X x x 1union movement in EU Member States; RO 5 5 Xsecondly, tendencies towards concen- ES 6 5 X x x 1tration or fragmentation, thirdly, issues HU 6 6 Xof leadership, in particular related to SI 7 5 X x 1 1the role and authority of the main IT 7 6 X 1confederations and largest (sector) FR 9 5 X x x 4unions and, fourthly, the membership Source: J. Visser, ICTWSS database 3.0, 2010.basis and composition of the unions. NB: X = major or primary demarcationline; x = minor or secondary.For each issue, where appropriate,18
  17. 17. Chapter 1: Variations and trends in European industrial relations in the 21st century’s first decade(including the public sector), and ‘spe- formed minority confederations, for the DGB and ÖGB respectively. Simi-cialised’ confederations with members example in Denmark, the Netherlands, lar attempts in Italy and France failed.in the public sector or some special- France and Cyprus (1). In many other The Netherlands is a rare case where, inised sector (e.g. commerce; financial countries, for instance Belgium or Aus- the 1970s, a general and Catholic unionservices, healthcare). Of the 98 con- tria and in a more varied way also in federation merged to become the FNV,federations counted in January 2010, Ireland and the UK, occupational sta- which is the country’s dominant unionnine are limited to the public sector, tus is the source of divisions between confederation. In nearly all countrieseight to services, and 81 are general. unions within the same confedera- in which free unions were suppressed, tion. In some of these cases blue- and or unionisation was allowed only in white-collar workers negotiate differ- a ‘united’ organisation, the return to1.2.1.2. Political, religious and ent collective agreements and/or have democracy expressed itself in union regional divisions different social insurance provisions pluralism, with ‘old’ and ‘new’ centres and employment protection rights. In competing with one another. This hap-Politics as a source of disunity is the industrial unions of Germany, the pened in Spain and Portugal in the latepresent in 15 of the 27 EU Member Netherlands, Spain or Italy, and also in 1970s and in Poland, Hungary and theStates (Table 1.1). It is absent in Scan- most CEE countries these distinctions other CEE countries after the fall ofdinavia, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Ger- are absent, and blue- and white-collar communism. The process of experi-many, Ireland and the UK. In Austria staff in the private sector tend to be mentation and differentiation has notand Greece party-political differences covered by the same collective agree- stopped yet, although some consoli-are ‘internalised’ as factions within the ments and legal statutes. Recent union dation has taken place, for instance inmain confederations, ÖGB and GSEE mergers and labour market reforms in Hungary where two confederationsrespectively. Religious differences are Austria and Belgium go in the same merged. Compared with 2000, theusually a minor or secondary demar- direction of lowering or removing the number of union confederations in thecation, or they overlap with political distinctions between blue- and white- EU-27 has risen from 93 to 98; in thedifferences, as is the case in Belgium, collar staff. In the Nordic countries, the 10 post-Communist CEE countries theLuxembourg and the Netherlands. decline in manual work is a long-term number rose from 29 to 38, with fur-Small, minority organisations based threat to the historically dominant con- ther splits and new union federationson religious identity exist in Ger- federations of blue-collar workers. in Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Slova-many, Denmark, France, Spain, Hun- kia and Romania.gary, Slovakia and Lithuania. Finally,confederations of unions limited to 1.2.1.4. Unity or pluralism?a particular language community or 1.2.1.5. Organisational fragmentationregion exist in Spain (Basque area), In the history of (western) European and recognition rulesthe Czech Republic (Bohemia, Mora- trade unions, the political, religious andvia and Silesia) and Slovenia (coastal occupational demarcations between Union pluralism tends to go togetherarea). Within the Belgian confedera- trade union confederations emerged with competition over members,tions, unions have sometimes a dis- relatively early, before or around the influence, bargaining rights and seatstinct regional (and linguistic) identity, First World War. They have proved in national, sector or company consul-especially those for white-collar staff very stable (Ebbinghaus and Visser tation councils. This competition mayand in the public sector. 2000). Only in Germany and Austria, be intense when confederations are under allied occupation, was it possible ideologically and politically opposed to overcome pre-war differences and to one another, or muted when their1.2.1.3. Divisions by occupational organise all or most unions under the membership is demarcated by occupa- class or status common roof of the German and Aus- tion, region or religion and they have trian Confederation of Trade Unions, reached a cooperation agreement.Occupational demarcations between 1 There are also separate unions, federations orblue- and white-collar employees, with forums for managers with executive functions in Changes in recognition rules may putseparate organisations for (academic) Austria, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, pressure on trade unions and confed- Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK, butprofessions and managers, are the they are usually very small, not recognised and not erations to seek a merger with largermain dividing line in the Nordic coun- involved in collective bargaining — if known, their organisations. Not reaching the repre-tries. In a few other countries, higher- membership is included under ‘independent or sentativeness threshold may shut the unaffiliated’ unions, but they are not included in theranking white-collar employees have list of confederations in Table 1.1. confederation and its member unions 19
  18. 18. Industrial Relations in Europe 2010out from participation in consultation small unions in professions and occu- creation of mega unions, for instanceand bargaining. For instance, in Poland pations in the public or state-subsidised in Finland, Germany, the UK, Austriaa recognition threshold of 10 % applies sector as well as associations represent- and Denmark. In the early 2000s, unionto unions claiming representation in ing managers. As mainstream public mergers were often broadcast as a solu-companies; increasing this threshold, sector unions have increasingly come tion to problems of membership declineas was debated in the Tripartite Com- under pressure to accept change in the and union renewal, freeing resources bot-mission in 2008, would probably hurt employment status of civil servants and tled up in unions organising in decliningall unions, but especially those affiliated moderation in wage settlements, some industrial sectors for recruitment driveswith the smallest confederation. In Italy, powerful and well-organised profes- in services. But mergers are costly opera-since the late 1990s bargaining rights in sional groups have tried to defend their tions in themselves and the high expecta-the public sector depend on reaching a privileges by splitting off from the main tions associated with some subsequentlythreshold of 5 %, based on membership unions. Examples of this development gave way to disillusionment (Wadding-and electoral data. Even this low thresh- go back to the 1980s in Italy and France ton, 2006). In early 2008 three white-col-old has triggered a spate of union merg- and the 1990s in the Netherlands. In lar employee unions merged in Sweden,ers in the public sector. In France, under the 2000s, train drivers, air pilots, and but in Finland a merger of six unions,new legislation applying from 2012, in physicians in Germany won separate decided in 2006, was reversed. Anotherorder to take part in collective bargaining bargaining rights, often after a strike group of Finnish unions is poised toat the sector or cross-sector level, trade (Schroeder and Greef, 2008). create a mega union in 2010 or 2011. Inunion organisations must obtain 8 % of January 2010, the construction unionthe votes in workplace elections across There appears to be no relationship of the Dutch Christian National Unionthe sector or nationally, while participa- between the number of unions or Confederation (CNV) integrated into thetion in company-level bargaining will union confederations and the size of union for manufacturing industries. Inrequire 10 % of the votes in the relevant the country (the correlation coefficient the FNV the industry union had mergedenterprise elections. The Confederation is close to zero). The country with the 10 years earlier, with unions in transportof Professional and Managerial Staff largest population in the EU, Germany, and services, but the construction union(CFE-CGC) and the National Federa- has one of the most concentrated union has retained its independence. Uniontion of Independent Unions (UNSA), movements, whereas small countries mergers do not necessarily make unionneither of which currently reaches the like Slovenia, Hungary or Portugal have structures more similar.threshold, have broached the possibility many confederations and many unions.of a merger, but no conclusion has yet A relatively strict application of the sec- Until recently union mergers havebeen reached. In Luxembourg, a change tor principle of demarcation between respected the boundaries of confed-in the representation criteria set by the affiliated unions reduces the number of erations and nations, but in July 2008law in 2004 triggered a regrouping of unions, whereas occupational demar- UNITE, the largest ‘general union’ in theunion confederations and their overall cations raise the number, as the com- UK, signed an agreement to merge withreduction from seven to four. parison between Germany and Britain the North American United Steelwork- shows, although mega unions strad- ers union, adopting as its name Work- dling the boundaries of many sectors ers Uniting and claiming more than1.2.1.6. Number of unions and occupations now exist in both 3 million members in the UK, Ireland, countries. The relationship between the the USA, Canada and the Caribbean.The total number of unions affiliated to number of unions and bargaining units Unions operating cross-border are athe largest confederation in each coun- no longer exists, as some large unions well-known phenomenon in the USAtry decreased from 829 in 2000 to 758 negotiate many contracts in different and Canada, and between the Unitedin 2008, which represents an average of parts of the economy. Kingdom and the Irish Republic, but in29 per country (Table 1.2). A cautious continental Europe it is rare. The nearestestimate and considering that smaller example is the European Cockpit Asso-confederations may also have a smaller 1.2.1.7. Union mergers ciation (ECA), which represents 38 650number of affiliates, suggests that the pilots and flight engineers in 38 nationaltotal number of national unions in the The process of consolidation through flight crew associations in Europe andEU might be in the order of 2 000. Not mergers of separate unions has contin- operates at the EU level. All of ECA’sincluded in this count are the inde- ued, but at a much reduced pace than at member associations are also memberspendent or unaffiliated unions; they the beginning of the decade when there of the International Federation of Airprobably add another 1 000 mostly very was a flurry of activity resulting in the Line Pilots (Ifalpa). Since 2003 ECA20

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