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 8: The Netherlands: From convergence to divergence in Europe? Social dialogue and industrial relations in the face of household labour supply

Wiemer Salverda


From the early 1990s, the Italian industrial relations system came to be described as an example of the ‘neo-corporatist revival’. ‘Negotiated flexibility’, implemented with the participation of the social partners, resulted in an increasingly polarised labour market, with a surge in precarious jobs concentrated mostly among the younger generations, and no lasting effects on employment. Since the crisis, labour legislation has turned from negotiated to unilateral. In the name of urgency, national governments have increasingly resorted to legislation by decree, sidestepping the social partners and national parliament to pass reforms in the fields of labour, welfare and industrial relations. The interaction of these reforms with austerity policies has eroded labour rights while weakening the labour unions, magnified the dualism marking the labour market and opened the way to greater precariousness, inequality and poverty. The case of Italy demonstrates that no degree of labour flexibility can amount to adequate response to the crisis, and that the multiple challenges raised by technological, organisational and social changes call for coordinated responses in the production, employment and social spheres.

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