Employment relations in an era of change

November 3, 2016

A book has been published by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) in the framework of the Changing Employment research training network on Theme 1 - Management and Employees with the involvement of CPS Research Fellow Dragos Adascalitei.

Employment relations in an era of change. Multi-level challenges and responses in Europe

Edited by: Valeria Pulignano (KU Leuven), Holm-Detlev Köhler (University of Oviedo) and Paul Stewart (University of Strathclyde)

Employee and employer relations and their regulatory mechanisms and institutions are undergoing profound change in contemporary capitalist societies. Globalization has created instability in the form of wage competition, the decentralization of collective bargaining and the deregulation of labour standards, thereby undermining relationships between employers, trade unions and the state at both sector and national levels. On the other hand, by opening up space for trans-nationalisation, Europeanisation has increased the complexity of the industrial relations map. The recent financial crisis has revealed deep 'economic' fissures within the complex European project, with profound dis-integrative implications for employment relations in Europe. New levels, actors and institutions, new relationships and interdependences among company, sectoral, national and transnational public and private stakeholders have been created.

The edited volume focuses on the dynamics and strategies of the social partners (unions and their representatives and employers and management) involved and affected by these transformations. In particular, it provides a wide-ranging empirical evidence illustrating that a multi-level approach is today potentially the most suitable way to understand the current transformations as well as to examine their social effects. The edited volume also examines the difficulties facing social partners, particularly labour unions, in developing multi-level strategies while at the same time coping with the current economic and political changes.

Chapter 2: Coming apart or joining hands? The crisis and current dilemmas of the Romanian trade union movement

Authors: Dragos Adascalitei and Stefan Guga

In this chapter we analyse the impact the decentralization of industrial relations had on Romanian trade unions from a multilevel perspective. We show that their loss of power experienced as a result of the 2011 legislative changes hit all levels of collective bargaining simultaneously. Furthermore, we argue that enterprise-level collective bargaining has now officially become the most important source of protection for workers. To analyse the effects of the decentralization at the local level we discuss two cases of union organizing in two automotive plants: Dacia and Ford. These two cases exemplify the dynamics of industrial relations in one of the major new 'leading sectors' (Greskovits 2008) in Romania and in the entire Central and Eastern European region.

Employment relations in an era of change. Multi-level challenges and responses in Europe (Download)

The book is also available at the ETUI website.