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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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