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The Europeanization of Industrial Relations in the Service Sector

Problems and Perspectives in a Heterogeneous Field


Stefan Rüb and Hans-Wolfgang Platzer

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.
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Chapter 7: The development of European industrial relations: Kering


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The development of European industrial relations: Kering

7.1 Kering

Kering1 is a global undertaking that designs, manufactures and retails luxury and ‘lifestyle’ consumer brands. Headquartered in France, the group employs some 36,000 staff in sixty-three countries, with a turnover of €9.75 billion. The group owns a number of well-known brands, including Gucci and Puma.

The group’s origins date back to 1963, when François Pinault founded a company that operated in the wood and building materials sector. During the 1990s, Pinault extended into retailing through a series of acquisitions (Conforama in 1992, Printemps 1992, La Redoute 1992, Fnac 1994, and Ellos 1997). In 1999, the company entered the luxury goods sector through the purchase of 42 per cent of the Gucci group. In subsequent years, it consolidated its position in this sector through further acquisitions: these included ← 137 | 138 → Yves Saint Laurent, YSL Beauté and Sergio Rossi (1999), Boucheron (2000), Bottega Veneta and Balenciaga (2001), a majority holding in the Sowind Group (2001), completion of the takeover of Brioni (2012) and a majority stake in Qeelin. Over this period, the company also steadily accumulated a holding in the Gucci group, and now owns 99.4 per cent. In 2004, there was a rapid growth in the company’s engagement in the luxury sector. In 2007, the lifestyle division underwent a major expansion with the acquisition of Puma. Kering has also been very active in divesting. In the recent...

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