Since its birth in 1993, the EU has become a heterogeneous collection of states diverse in terms of history and culture, economic development, fiscal regimes, and welfare and employment institutions, yet economically bound to each other in ways never before seen on the continent outside of conquest. From some fronts it started soon to be expected that Europe would have entailed to a European system of Industrial relations as the “social” response to the process of European economic integration and monetary union. This book shows how the process of European industrial relations as the result of EU has been accompanied by major challenges along its course. It shows how much of these challenges stem from the dynamics of the simultanous widening and deepening of the European Union, as well as social changes and technological advance. The national institutions of employment relations, specifically those concerning collective bargaining, and their social actors, in particular those representing the interests of employers and employees as well as national and local governments have had to adapt accordingly to the changing European economic environment.
Following key current changes in employment relations thought from mid-1980s to the present day, the book examines the profound causes of these transformations. From the internationalization and intensification of competition, which unleashed intense pressures on nationally-based employment systems as firms sought looser multi-employer arrangements to facilitate restructuring and flexibility to determine pay, working time and employment conditions; it deeply investigates the continued shift of employment from (large-scale) manufacturing to services which meant that the workforce became increasingly diverse and dispersed. The gender and occupational re-composition of the labor force, and the accompanying fragmentation of employment across smaller workplaces and ‘atypical’ forms, raised serious problems for traditional models of recruitment and organization. The information and communication technology (ICT) revolution increased the pace of change within organizations, encouraging new forms of flexible work organization that challenged established norms including for the ‘core’ blue-collar workforce. In the political arena, a deregulation agenda developed informed by neoliberal market ideologies. Within organizations, labor management was increasingly informed by the philosophies and practices of ‘human resource management’ (HRM). This emphasized the importance of employee flexibility and performance and showed less concern for traditional, collective forms of labor regulation. Other challenges relate to increased labor mobility, especially from the ‘new member states’ to the larger economies.
The Transformations of Employment Relations tells a fascinating story about how employment relationships have changed, shifted, evolved and developed down through the centuries in the European Union. The thematic comparative approach of this book makes it unique. Students taking classes in industrial and employment relations, sociology, political science, labor history, human resource management and international business will find this text to be the perfect accompaniment to their studies and will be a captivating read for anyone else.
Institutions and Outcomes in the Age of Globalization
Series: Routledge Research in Employment Relations
Since the 1980s, the process of European economic integration, within a wider context of globalization, has accelerated employment change and placed a new premium on ‘flexible’ forms of work organization. The institutions of employment relations, specifically those concerning collective bargaining...
To Be Published June 9th 2013 by Routledge