Institutions and Wage Formation in the New Europe

Institutions and Wage Formation in the New Europe

Edited by Gabriel Fagan, Francesco Paolo Mongelli and Julian Morgan

Institutions and Wage Formation in the New Europe addresses the role played by institutions in European wage formation with a focus on EMU and institutional change in labour markets.

Chapter 7: A widening scope for non-wage components in collective bargaining in the EU?*

Véronique Genre, Ramón Gómez Salvador and Nadine Leiner-Killinger

Subjects: social policy and sociology, labour policy

Extract

Véronique Genre, Ramón Gómez Salvador, Nadine Leiner-Killinger and Gilles Mourre 1 INTRODUCTION Collective bargaining is increasingly taking place against the background of a growing importance of ‘qualitative labour-related aspects’, a development which may have contributed to wages increasing less in the second half of the 1990s than in the past. These ‘qualitative labour-related aspects’ can be defined to include non-wage components of collective bargaining such as nonwage compensation (for example employers’ social security contributions and fringe benefits) and working conditions. Indeed, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) has put forward a guideline for the coordination of collective bargaining, which demands the ‘total value of the agreement’ to encompass nominal wage increases and an improvement in ‘qualitative aspects of work’, implying a trade-off between wage developments and nonwage issues.1 At the same time European governments have been calling for an increased focus on such qualitative labour-related aspects. The Lisbon European Council in 2000 concluded that the European Union (EU) has ‘to become the most competitive and knowledge-based economy in the world capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and social cohesion’.2 In 2001 the Stockholm European Council stated that regaining full employment not only involves focusing on more jobs but also on better jobs . . . including equal opportunities for the disabled, gender equality, good and flexible work organization permitting better reconciliation of working with personal life, life-long learning, health and safety at work, employee involvement and diversity in working life.3 Non-wage compensation such as training and...

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