The Europeanization of Industrial Relations in the Service Sector

Problems and Perspectives in a Heterogeneous Field

by Stefan Rüb (Author) Hans-Wolfgang Platzer (Author)
©2015 Monographs XVI, 244 Pages


The service sector has not always received the attention it merits in industrial relations research when set against its enormous economic significance. One factor in this is certainly the highly diverse nature of services. Research attention has also lagged behind long-standing processes of transnationalization undertaken by service sector companies and the challenges these pose for policy and practice in the field of employment relations. This study by Stefan Rüb and Hans-Wolfgang Platzer represents a pioneering effort to remedy this gap. Through six named company case studies, Rüb and Platzer explore the scope and background for transnational employee relations conflicts and the mechanisms that have emerged to resolve and anticipate these, highlighting the complex relationships between employee representatives, management and trade unions.
The choice of case studies aims to capture a broad range of service sector employment, in terms of both working conditions and employment relations arrangements. As well as covering a number of key sectors, the choice of home countries of the selected firms also aims to capture the impact of national influences for the main industrial relations models in Europe. Overall, the study offers insights into the complexities of the Europeanization of company-level industrial relations in a dynamic field now also confronted by the convulsions unleashed by the Eurozone crisis.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the editors
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • List of tables
  • List of figures
  • Preface and acknowledgements
  • List of abbreviations
  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • Chapter 2: Methods and context
  • Chapter 3: UNI Europa and the policy field of transnational companies
  • Chapter 4: Accelerated development of European industrial relations after the establishment of an SE: The case of Allianz
  • Chapter 5: The scope and limits of extending a national model into the European space: The case of AXA
  • Chapter 6: Continuous development and differentiation of transnational industrial relations: The case of IKEA
  • Chapter 7: The development of European industrial relations: Kering
  • Chapter 8: Temporary surge of European industrial relations triggered by a dispute: The case of MM Packaging
  • Chapter 9: A great leap forward in European industrial relations: Post- acquisition developments in the case of DS Smith
  • Chapter 10: European company industrial relations in the service sector: Findings, challenges, perspectives
  • Chapter 11: The service sector and the Europeanization of industrial relations: Challenges and perspectives
  • References
  • Index
  • Series Index

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Preface and acknowledgements

This study, the empirical core of which is based on a large number of expert interviews, would not have been possible without the cooperation of our interviewees: trade union officials, workplace employee representatives, and management. We are indebted to them for enabling our research to take place.

We are especially grateful to those individuals who made themselves available, as field research in the service sector proved to be more
difficult and time-consuming than previous comparable research in manufacturing industry. In one instance, for example, group management refused to grant us any access at all. We discuss the factors behind these difficulties both in the section on methodology as well as in the context of the individual case studies, insofar as they had implications for acquiring data.

Torsten Müller was a member of the project team during the initial stages of the project and, prior to his move to the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI), took part in the initial round of trade union interviews and also conducted interviews for two case studies. We are very grateful to Torsten for his contribution to the project.

We are also indebted to our ‘foreign correspondents’, Ingegerd Akselsson Le Douaron and Jean Claude Le Douaron, Magdalena Bernacziak, Marie Meixner and Lisa Schulte, who conducted and minuted interviews in Sweden, Poland, France, and the United Kingdom.

A two-day project workshop in Brussels, organized by Torsten Müller and financed by the ETUI, provided an opportunity for all those involved to reflect together on the findings from the case-study research.

We would like to express our thanks to the members of the project advisory committee both for their substantive engagement and their many helpful suggestions. ← xi | xii →

Finally, we are deeply indebted to the Hans Böckler Foundation for financially enabling the project and, in particular, to Stefan Lücking of the Foundation for his unflagging support and assistance.

Stefan Rüb and Hans-Wolfgang Platzer
Fulda, September 2014

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XVI, 244
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2015 (July)
European company collective bargaining Trade union strategies in Europe Industrial relations in Europe
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2015. XVI, 244 pp.

Biographical notes

Stefan Rüb (Author) Hans-Wolfgang Platzer (Author)

Stefan Rüb works as a senior researcher at the University of Applied Sciences, Fulda, Germany. He is a founding member of the European and Global Industrial Relations Research Group at the University of Applied Sciences, Fulda, Germany. Hans-Wolfgang Platzer has been Professor in the Department of Social Science and Cultural Studies at the University of Applied Sciences, Fulda, Germany since 1992. He holds the Jean Monnet Chair of European Integration, ad personam and is Director of the European and Global Industrial Relations Research Group at the University of Applied Sciences, Fulda, Germany.


Title: The Europeanization of Industrial Relations in the Service Sector
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261 pages