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A Solution for Transnational Labour Regulation?

Company Internationalization and European Works Councils in the Automotive Sector

Axel Hauser-Ditz, Markus Hertwig, Ludger Pries and Luitpold Rampeltshammer

This book examines the role that European employee representatives play in the restructuring of firms. In a globalized economy, company internationalization and transnational restructuring are of growing concern for employees and trade unions. In the European Union, the still rather new institution of European works councils provides basic rights for employees. Using examples of eight large automotive manufacturers like Volkswagen, GM or Toyota, the volume analyzes the internationalization strategies of the companies and the effects of European works councils, pointing to a high degree of variation in strategies and effectiveness of cross-border employee representation.
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Chapter 2: The current state of research


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Chapter 2:  The current state of research

Space forbids a fully comprehensive treatment of the range of current EWC studies and a number of systematic overviews of the literature have been compiled by other researchers (see Hertwig et al., 2009; Müller and Hoffmann, 2001; Waddington and Kerckhofs, 2003; Whittall et al., 2007). Rather, our intention here is to highlight some of the key features of previous research and reflect on what we consider to be some of the limitations of this work, which, in some respects, have constituted a springboard for our own work (Chapter 2.1). In order to explain our theoretical framework, we then consider the issue of internationally operating for-profit and non-profit organisations (Chapter 2.2).

2.1  Research on European Works Councils

2.1.1  Phases of EWC development

Interest in researching EWCs as the first cross-border institution for company-level employee representation pre-dates the 1994 adoption of the EWC Directive, but was given a substantial boost following its transposition into national law. EWC research has drawn on a number of disciplinary approaches and perspectives. Historical analyses customarily distinguish three phases of EWC development (see Rivest, 1996; Platzer and Weiner, 1998: 393ff. ; Keller, 2001). During the first phase, prior to the adoption of the Directive, the research focus was on analyses of the strategies deployed by actors in their engagement with the Directive (Hall, 1992; Danis and Hoffmann, 1995) and the establishment of forums for employee information and consultation...

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