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Transnational Company Bargaining and the Europeanization of Industrial Relations

Prospects for a Negotiated Order


Stephan Rüb, Hans-Wolfgang Platzer and Torsten Müller

Over the past decade, European company-level employment regulation has emerged: European Works Councils (EWCs) and trade unions have begun to negotiate company-level collective agreements which have a far-reaching impact across borders on issues as diverse as company restructuring, health and safety, and profit-sharing. The negotiating parties have thus begun to fill the gap left by low levels of regulation and little formal structure, necessarily leading them to also bargain about the negotiating process itself.
This study is the first to provide a detailed analysis of the process of negotiating European company-level agreements based on ten company case studies as well as a quantitative study of European company-level bargaining in the metalworking industry. The study provides a comprehensive overview of the emerging order of European company-level industrial relations and the strategies and assessments of the key actors, with a particular focus on the emergence of a new and dynamic interplay between EWCs and trade unions at the national and European levels. The findings are also placed in the wider context of political science research into European integration and thus contribute to European governance debates that go beyond the employment and industrial relations field.


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ACV Algemeen Christelijk Vakverbond (General Confederation of Christian Trade Unions – Belgium) AFL-CIO American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Organizations ARCC African Regional Consultative Council BDA Bundesvereinigung der Deutschen Arbeitgeberverbände (Confederation of German Employer Associations) BIAC Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD CCMB Centrale Chrétienne du Métal de Belgique (Christian Metalworkers’ Union of Belgium) CC.OO Comisiones Obreras (Spanish trade union centre, member of the ETUC) CEE Central and Eastern Europe CEEMET Council of European Employers of the Metal, Engineering and Technology Based Industries CFCT Confédération française des travailleurs chrétiens CFDT Confédération française démocratique du travail CGE Compagnie Générale d’Electricité CGIL Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro (Italian Confederation of Labour – trade union confederation) CGT Confédération générale du travail (General Confederation of Labour – France) CGT-FO Confédération générale du travail-Force Ouvrière (France) xvi Abbreviations CISL Confederazione Italiana Sindacati Lavoratori (General Confederation of Italian Workers’ Trades Unions – Italy, Christian tradition) CLEPA European Association of Automotive Suppliers CMB Centrale de l’Industrie du Métal de Belgique (metalwork- ing af filiate of the Belgian trade union confederation FGTB) CNV Christelijk Nationaal Vakverbond in Nederland (National Federation of Christian Trade Unions in the Netherlands) COPA Comité des Organisations Professionnelles Agricoles CSR Corporate Social Responsibility CWC Central Works Council (Gesamtbetriebsrat) DGB Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund (German Trade Union Confederation) EBR Europäischer Betriebsrat (EWC, European Works Council) EC European Community ECB European Central Bank ECEG European...

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