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International Handbook of Trade Unions

Edited by John T. Addison and Claus Schnabel

This Handbook is an authoritative and invaluable reference tool, uniquely analysing the forces governing unionism, union behaviour and union impact from a variety of perspectives, both theoretical and empirical. The 14 chapters are written in an accessible style by acknowledged leading specialists from the fields of economics and industrial relations. They offer a truly international perspective on this important subject.
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Chapter 13: Europeanization of Collective Bargaining

Dieter Sadowski, Oliver Ludewig and Florian Turk


Dieter Sadowski, Oliver Ludewig and Florian Turk 1. Europeanization of industrial relations: fact or fantasy? What is, if any, the impact of EU-European integration on national and supranational actors, legal arrangements and policy processes in the realm of collective bargaining? We use a broad concept of collective bargaining to identify possible European dynamics, embracing all sorts of bipartite or tripartite cooperation and concertation on labour problems, involving both sides of industry and perhaps governmental authorities that are aimed at either resolutions, the preparation and implementation of policies, or binding collective agreements. We ask how collective actors – employers, employees and their respective representatives – react to increasing economic integration. Do they react in different national contexts differently? How do the social partners handle the ‘twin pressure of decentralization and internationalization’ (Waddington, 2001)? Can we observe a change in the nature of negotiation issues, for example, a change from substantive to procedural issues or from quantitative to qualitative issues? Who is negotiating, and has the level of negotiations changed in terms of European, multi-employer, single-employer plant-level bargaining? Are the national industrial relations in Europe about to be absorbed into supranational industrial relations? Or is the process of Europeanization stalled somewhere between intergovernmentalism and supranational institution building? Many observers, be they Euro-pessimists or Euro-optimists, imagine European industrial relations only as supranational centralized industrial relations (see Keller and Bansbach, 2001; Keller, 1995; Streeck, 1996, 1994, 1993). But that is not at all compelling. Other developments would also rightly be coined ‘European’; for example,...

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