Collective Bargaining in Europe in the 21st Century

collective bargaining 2015

Voss, Eckhard / Schöneberg, Katharina / Rodriguez Contreras, Ricardo (2015: Collective Bargaining in Europe in the 21st Century. Eurofound. Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.

Collective bargaining systems in the EU have undergone a steady change since the end of the 1990s. But as businesses across Europe struggle to respond to intensifying global competition, pressure from employers for greater flexibility in collective bargaining is increasing, especially since the 2008 economic crisis. The study that has been elaborated by Wilke, Maack and Partner on behalf of the European Agency Eurofound sets out to map developments in all major aspects of collective bargaining (apart from pay and working time, which have been analysed separately by Eurofound) over the past 15 years. In doing so, it aims to distinguish long-term trends and to identify changes brought on by the crisis. It also aims to identify the directions collective bargaining is likely to take in the coming years. The study finds a common and strong trend of convergence across the EU towards decentralisation and more flexibility in collective bargaining processes, but with significant asymmetries in the timing and pace of change. This trend has accelerated since 2008 by political reform projects that resulted in a number of imbalances and erosion tendencies. According to the authors of the study these call for a stronger rebalancing of collective bargaining practice and systems.

The full report as well as an executive summary is available on the Eurofound website.


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