Transnational Collective Bargaining and Changing Roles of Ewcs: Is There a Place for Them in the Future European Industrial Relations?

Thursday, July 13, 2017
Gilbert Scott Building - Room 134 (University of Glasgow)
Romuald Jagodzinski , European Trade Union Institute
Sara Lafuente-Hernandez , European Trade Union Institute
European Works Councils (EWCs) as an established actor in transnational/European industrial relations over the years have been evolving not only in numbers , but also in their functions and areas of activity. Admittedly, the involvement of EWCs into transnational collective bargaining (TCB) was limited to the most effective and experienced of them that became partners for management in dealing with the social aspect of, among others, restructuring, gender balance, etc. In their exploration of TCB European Works Councils were balancing on the thin line between what was considered codified trade union territory (national collective bargaining) and arguably half-codified transnational practice. Since EWCs are navigating the uncharted waters of TCB without any legal beacons and since no initiative for a legal framework for TCB seems visible or feasible on the EU horizon European Trade Union Federations have developed their own policies and strategies that aim at organising EWC and union activity in this area.

The paper will look at the recent developments in the area of TCB. This will serve to evaluate whether TCB still represents such an attractive route of development for the European industrial relations as it seemed to have some five years ago (proliferation of publications, establishment of the EU database on TCB) and whether the trade union policies have changed the practice to any discernible extent. It will also propose some outlooks for future and sketch prerequisites for introducing TCB as a new level of European industrial relations.