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Edited by Adrian Wilkinson, Jimmy Donaghey, Tony Dundon and Richard B. Freeman
Chapter 23: Voice across borders: comparing and explaining the dynamics of participation in a context of change
Kochan (2007) affirms that governments should care about the declining trend of overall worker voice and trade unions because it diminishes the quality of democracies, diminishes standards of employment, increases social inequality and increases conflict. In Kochan's view, public policy changes to address this trend are more likely in other parliamentary systems than in the USA, and more so in countries affected by the European Union's social disciplining of domestic politics and employer behaviour. While the workers' voice is clearly institutionalized in the EU member states to a higher degree than in the USA or in most other countries, as fragmentation of representation increases, the weaknesses in these voice systems are becoming more visible (see Mart'nez Lucio and González Menéndez 2013). Bridging the democratic deficit in employment relations is unfortunately not a major current political objective in Europe. However, the concern of this chapter is not to reflect on whether workers' voice is a means to an end or an end in itself (see Frege 2005: 154), or whether it is reaching the point where we are witnessing the end of a moment of collective and coordinated voice: rather, the concern of this chapter is to try to map a route through the way that voice is to be studied across boundaries.
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