The Contested Constitution of Wage Coordinating Institutions in Social Services from a Multi-Scalar Perspective

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Anatomy - Large LT (University of Glasgow)
Nele Dittmar , University of Linz
European political programs of economic liberalism and public austerity have sought to restructure the provision of social services in the EU member states. Hence, market competition, the emergence of large transnational corporations in certain subsectors such as elderly care, and migration processes have increased pressures on wages and working conditions in social services. While cross-country comparative perspectives perceive these material and symbolic changes as external challenges which – being contingent on the state of national employment systems – induce different responses of trade unions, employers and state actors, we assume that local and national actors and institutions facilitate or inhibit market competition. The structuring of a European field of orthodox (wage competition) and heterodox norms and ideas (wage bargaining coordination) in economic and employment policies is therefore seen as an outcome of historical and contemporary struggles between actors at various spatial scales. Our focus lies on the evolution, maintenance or disruption of wage-bargaining institutions in the social services sectors of Germany and Austria. German policy and industrial relations actors are assumed to have paved the way for the privatization and marketization of public services, which in turn influenced European policies. Austria, in comparison, provides an example in which national actors’ commitment towards inter- and intra-class coordination has been continuously (re-)produced and enforced by a strong social partnership. This in turn has led to the creation of collective bargaining institutions in the formerly excluded social services sector.
  • Pernicka Glassner Dittmar Paper CES Conference_fin.pdf (202.9 kB)