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 11: Economic and social convergence in Spain: The elusive goal of catching up with the EU

Rafael Muñoz de Bustillo


This chapter reviews the role played by the system of industrial relations in the working of the Spanish labour market, focusing on the level of security and flexibility achieved and its impact on inequality. With that aim, we first review the main characteristics of the Spanish system of industrial relations before the Great Recession, including the role played by social agreements and social consultation, and the major changes produced during the economic crisis, both in terms of labour (de)regulation and in terms of the changing power relations between workers and firms resulting from the massive increase in unemployment. With this background, we explore the impact of the system of industrial relations on the functioning of the labour market in terms of jobs security and income inequality using, among other sources, the 2014 wave of the Structure of Earnings Survey. This chapter will provide two successful equality-enhancing case studies of social dialogue.

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