Towards Convergence in Europe
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Towards Convergence in Europe

Institutions, Labour and Industrial Relations

Edited by Daniel Vaughan-Whitehead

This book aims to answer a number of important questions. To what extent have European countries converged or diverged with EU-wide economic and social indicators over the past 20 years? What have been the drivers of convergence? Why do some countries lag behind, while others experience continuous upward convergence? Why are these trajectories not always linear? Particular attention is paid to the role of institutions, actors and industrial relations – focusing on the resources and strategies of governments, employers and trade unions – in nudging EU countries onto an upward convergence path.
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Chapter 6: Ireland after the Great Recession: Convergence or divergence?

Philip J. O’Connell


The Greek Great Depression (2008 to date) has had profound consequences on labour market inequalities by producing mass unemployment of historical dimensions and radical changes in industrial relations. By investigating only the effect of the latter on inequalities among employees, the chapter has found that the dismantling of collective bargaining and ‘imposed flexibility’ have reduced traditional differences in employment and working conditions between large and small firms, formal and informal sectors and reinforced those between young and older workers. As regards the public–private divide, inequalities in employment security and working conditions have been amplified, while wage inequalities have narrowed given the huge cuts imposed on public sector wages in 2010–11. Wage devaluation in the private sector since 2012 has reversed the trend but has failed to contribute to the creation of a sustainable growth pattern which requires a multi-level social dialogue framework to promote productivity and investment in quality production.

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