The European Commission publishes flagship report "Industrial Relations in Europe 2012" featuring a chapter by Marta Kahancová
Published on April 12, 2013 in Research and policy reports
The European Commission, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, publishes its flagship report „Industrial Relations in Europe 2012“ featuring „Chapter 2: Industrial relations developments in the new member states in Central and Eastern Europe“ authored by Marta Kahancová.
The report published every two years provides an overview and analysis of industrial relations developments at European and national level from the perspective of the European Commission. The chapter argues that while there is wide diversity between Central and Eastern Europen countries, industrial relations institutions (and actors) in CEECs remain weak and fragmented, and some developments in this respect are worrying, as some reforms underway undermine the consensus which is needed for an effective involvement of social partners in adapting to change: in a number of these countries responses to the crisis are generating increasingly conflictual industrial relations. In some cases, the question of the compatibility of these reforms with international agreements or conventions has been raised. There is a need to revitalise national industrial relation systems and to support their actions in order to promote and restore consensus to ensure the long term sustainability of the economic and social reforms underway. Kahancová’s chapter documents the revitalisation potential of CEEC social partners. At the same time, it acknowledges that social partner efforts to respond to post-enlargement and post-crisis developments through coordinated action at the European, national, sectoral and company levels have not yet brought forth significant changes to the decentralised, fragmented industrial relations structure in place in most CEECs. Nevertheless, activities undertaken by social partners across various CEECs, supported by EU-level efforts to harmonise industrial relations structures across the EU, may in the long run contribute to incremental changes in the state of industrial relations in the CEECs. Against the backdrop of a weakening membership base of trade unions and employers’ associations and declining bargaining coverage, this is an important argument. Forces operating against revitalisation include employer and trade union fragmentation, and relatively underdeveloped international networks of CEEC social partners. „On the one hand the CEEC social partners are capable of bringing forth negotiated responses even in hostile institutional conditions. At the same time, their capacities and the substantive results of negotiated responses at the national, sectoral and company levels remain contested,“ underscores Marta Kahancová.
The report is downloadable here.