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The Transnationalisation of Collective Bargaining

Approaches of European Trade Unions


Vera Glassner

This book analyses the transnationalisation of collective bargaining by European trade unions, presenting key theoretical concepts and debates on the Europeanisation of collective bargaining and social dialogue.
The author uses comprehensive empirical evidence to illustrate that trade union strategies can be linked to sector-specific economic, institutional and actorrelated factors.
Looking at seven different industrial sectors, the book investigates whether western European trade unions pursue a centralised, vertical approach towards the transnationalisation of collective bargaining policies or embark upon decentralised, horizontal cross-border initiatives.
It identifies and operationalises the most important determinants of processes and explores commonly held assumptions about relationships between different forms of trade union-driven transnationalisation.
Overall, the study reveals a number of patterns in the variation between countries and sectors, both of the institutions and instruments involved and of the intensity of cross-border coordination.
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Chapter 7. Sector Analyses: Empirical Findings


7. Sector Analyses: Empirical Findings

In the following sections the sectors under consideration (i.e. metal, chemical, food production, telecommunications, construction, banking and cleaning) are analysed in terms of their specific institutional structures and conditions affecting the transnationalisation of collective bargaining. The economic background of the sectors is described in more detail and includes data that goes beyond the key factors presented in chapter 5. Descriptive accounts of economic and market developments are more encompassing for the metal and chemicals sector due to lack of comparative data for the other sectors. The sector analyses further focus on perceptions and orientations of the most relevant union actors at the European sector level with regard to the adoption of a specific approach, i.e. centralised or decentralised, on the ← 104 | 105 → transnational coordination of collective bargaining policies. In addition, the relationship between the instrument of European sector dialogue on the one hand and the transnational coordination of collective bargaining policies by trade unions is addressed in the sector analyses.

7.1 Metal Sector

The economic weight of the metal industries becomes apparent from an inter-industry perspective. In 2005 the EU25 gross output of the most important metal branches, i.e. basic metals, investment goods, machinery and automotive, to the amount of 3,688,600 million € (converted in purchasing-power-parity) accounted for more than 17% of total EU25 output (including non-market services such as public administration, education and health) (KLEMS, 2008). Other economically important market-sector industries such as construction, finance, chemicals (including...

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