104 Democracy Under Pressure: Labour Reforms in Times of Crisis

Thursday, July 13, 2017: 9:00 AM-10:45 AM
WMB - Hugh Fraser Seminar Room 2 (University of Glasgow)
Before the Eurozone crisis, pressures from the European Union to deregulate the labour market were cushioned by national political dynamics, more specifically by the strategic interaction between governments and trade unions (Molina, 2005). However, since the onset of the financial crisis, many European countries have witnessed drastic labour market reforms, many of which profoundly modified labour-capital relations to the benefit of the employers. While many studies have examined the content and effects of these reforms (the 'what'), still very little is known about the processes leading to their adoption (the 'how').

Moreover, the role of international actors in these processes is much debated. Whereas some scholars argue that governments were forced to implement labour reforms against their will, by the troika (Clauwaert and Schomman 2012 : 11) or after implicit blackmail by the ECB (Sacchi 2014), others claim that the crisis empowered governments to pass reforms they wanted all along (Cioffi and Dubin 2016, Moury and Freire 2013). So who is right? And, what are the implications of these narratives for democracy?

This panel seeks to understand the changes brought about by the Eurozone crisis that facilitated the implementation of drastic labour market reforms. It aims to analyse the decision-making processes leading to those reforms; and to examine how the changes in labour-capital relations affected the democratic participation of national actors and institutions, with a special focus on trade unions.

Catherine Moury and Angie Gago
Discussant :
Stefano Sacchi
Labour Market Reforms Under the Shadow of the Troika in Ireland and Portugal
Catherine Moury, FCSH-NOVA University of Lisbon; Angie Gago, FCSH-NOVA University of Lisbon
Europe As an Authoritative Resource. Reforming the Labour Market in Spain Under Austerity
Sergio González Begega, University of Oviedo; Ana Marta Guillen, University of Oviedo; Angel Alonso, University of Oviedo
The Politics of Labor Market Reforms before and during the Sovereign Debt Crisis: The Case of Portugal
Daniel Cardoso, FCSH-NOVA University of Lisbon; Rui Branco, FCSH-NOVA University of Lisbon
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