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Working Papers

Publications that present ongoing or already concluded research and are intended for academics and other specialists.

Labour law reforms in Europe: adjusting employment protection legislation for the worse?

Isabelle Schömann (ETUI)

2014
Labour law working paper

This new working paper is intended to map reforms of employment protection law in the member states with the aim of addressing these legal changes in the context of the crisis, but also in the context of the deregulation agenda of the European Commission.

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Reforming pensions in Europe: a comparative country analysis

David Natali, associated professor University of Bologna-Forli & senior researcher at the European Social Observatory (OSE) in Brussels and Furio Stamati, researcher OSE.

2013
Pensions paper Natali

This working paper assesses the impact of the economic crisis on European pension systems and provides a comparative overview of the measures imposed on European pension systems, together with their effects.

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The Janus face of the 'New ways of Work' : rise, risks and regulation of nomadic work

Jan Popma, senior researcher University of Amsterdam

2013

The Internet and the use of portable computers, mobile phones and tablets have increased the importance of ‘new ways of work’. This work, which is place- and time-independent, can lead to more autonomy and greater flexibility for workers, but it also carries serious physical as well as psychosocial risks according to this working paper.

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Political economy of labour market segmentation: agency work in the automotive industry

Chiara Benassi

2013

This paper investigates cross-company variation in the core-periphery configuration of the workforce. The empirical focus is on four automotive plants in Germany, which differ in terms of their organisation of agency work. The comparison reveals that there is no automatic relationship between skills, products and company workforce structure. As traditional employer-driven explanations such as production requirements and skills fail to make sense of the variations encountered, the main argument of the paper is based on the power-resource approach.

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The Euro crisis and its impact on national and European social policies

Christophe Degryse, Maria Jepsen and Philippe Pochet (ETUI)

2013
Working paper eurocrisis

This critical working paper looks at the series of political choices, circumstances and windows of opportunity that have enabled one particular vision of the model of EU monetary union to gain acceptance. In the context of this model, political union is not considered an accessible way to manage the crisis, for the rescue of the euro is regarded as feasible only in a more competitive economy.

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Working time reforms in times of crisis

Carole Lang, Stefan Clauwaert and Isabelle Schömann (ETUI)

2013

This working paper extends and complements the analysis of pre-2012 anticrisis measures published in the earlier ETUI Working Paper 'The crisis and'national labour law reforms: a mapping exercise' which dealt with anti-crisis measures on working time taken before February 2012.

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Atypical forms of employment contracts in times of crisis

Carole Lang, Isabelle Schömann and Stefan Clauwaert (ETUI)

2013

This working paper builds on previous research undertaken by the ETUI on the impact of the economic and financial crisis on labour law reforms in EU Member States. It maps the landscape and evolutions in the regulation of atypical employment contracts, analysing how some of these evolutions can be related to the context of the economic and financial crisis.

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Non-financial reporting beyond the strict minimum: is the workforce a well-informed stakeholder?

Jan Cremers (University of Amsterdam)

2013

This working paper by Jan Cremers of the Amsterdam Institute of Advanced Labour Studies summarises the results of an inquiry by the SEEurope network on the current legal framework and practices in 28 European countries regarding non-financial and sustainability-related reporting by European companies and the role and involvement of trade union representatives in this form of reporting.

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European enlargement and the economic crisis: impact and lasting effects

Rebecca Zahn (University of Stirling)

2013

This working paper by Rebecca Zahn of the University of Stirling looks at the effects of the economic crisis on the enlarged European Union and the European Social Model.

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The new European economic governance

Christophe Degryse (ETUI)

2012

This Working Paper by ETUI Senior researcher Christophe Degryse provides a thorough historical overview of how this new European economic governance came about and what the new structures for surveillance, coordination and sanctions (Euro-Plus Pact, Fiscal Compact, European Stability Mechanism, and so on) mean for the European project.

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Intra-EU labour migration after Eastern enlargement and during the crisis

Béla Galgóczi and Janine Leschke (ETUI)

2012

This paper by senior ETUI researchers Béla Galgóczi and Janine Leschke looks at recent trends in labour migration from new EU member states to the EU15, with a focus on the impact of the crisis on intra-EU labour mobility. Based on data from the European Labour Force Survey, the findings of the study contradict expectations, previously expressed in the literature, according to which deep recessions will result in a slowdown in migration flows. The overall stock of EU10 population in EU15 countries has continued to grow during the crisis, except in Ireland and Spain, two countries that were particularly hard hit by the recession and which, prior to the crisis, exhibited large EU10 migrant inflows.

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European labour market policies in (the) crisis

Jochen Clasen, Daniel Clegg (University of Edinburgh) and Jon Kvist (University of Southern Denmark)

2012

This working paper by Jochen Clasen and Daniel Clegg, of the University of Edinburgh, together with Jon Kvist of the University of Southern Denmark, examines the nature of impact of the economic and political challenges engendered by the “Great Recession” on labour market policy reforms in Europe. The authors thus consider the question of whether the economic crisis has also brought a labour market policy reform crisis in its wake.

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The reform of the EU’s public procurement directives: a missed opportunity?

Éric Van den Abeele (Temporary lecturer at the University of Mons-Hainaut)

2012

This Working Paper provides a critical analysis of the EU Commission’s proposals to modernise and simplify its rules on public procurement. The author of the paper, Eric Van den Abeele, looks at the political background and reasons behind the EU’s revision of its public procurement directives. The reform aims at making the rules simpler and more flexible, providing better access to the public procurement market by SME’s and fostering a better qualitative use of public procurement through the introduction of social and environmental criteria.

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What did they expect? Lessons for Europe from a retrospective ex-ante evaluation of the first Greek bail-out programme

Sotiria Theodoropoulou (ETUI) and Andrew Watt (Head of the department Macroeconomic Policy Institute - Hans-Böckler Foundation)

2012

The original Greek adjustment programme, as spelled out in the Memorandum of Understanding signed in May 2010, contained, from the outset, the seeds of its own failure. This is the conclusion of the authors of the present Working paper which assesses, on its own premises, the original adjustment programme that was agreed for the Greek bail-out.

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Occupations and ageing at work. An analysis of the findings of the fifth European Working Conditions Survey

Patricia Vendramin and Gérard Valenduc (Fondation Travail-Université, Namur, Belgium)

2012

This working paper analyzes the data collected by the fifth European Working Conditions Survey done in 2010 to examine how working conditions are changing for different ages and occupation types. It brings insights into the quality of work and employment amongst ageing workers that help to inform the debate on how “sustainable” work is according to one’s age and occupation.

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Work less to pollute less? What contribution can or must working time reduction play in reducing carbon emissions?

Andrew Watt (Head of the department Macroeconomic Policy Institute - Hans-Böckler Foundation)

2012

This article asks whether we can, and whether we must, work less to pollute less. After examining different scenarios, the only strategy that appears commensurate with the normative views set out in the paper, i.e. meeting emissions targets while maintaining employment – seems to be a combination of radical efforts to accelerate the decoupling of emissions from economic growth and considerably more substantial reductions in average working hours than have been the norm in recent decades.

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Job quality in the crisis - an update of the Job Quality Index (JQI)

Janine Leschke (ETUI), Andrew Watt (Head of the department Macroeconomic Policy Institute - Hans-Böckler Foundation) and Mairéad Finn (Research Assistant at The Economic and Social Research Insti...

2012

This paper is an update of the synthetic job quality index (JQI) for the EU27 countries which has been created in 2008 (see ETUI Working paper 2008.03 and 2008.07) in an attempt to shed light on the question of how European countries compare with each other and how they are developing over time in terms of job quality.

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Social dumping: political catchphrase or threat to labour standards?

Magdalena Bernaciak (ETUI)

2012

Despite its widespread use in popular discourse, the term ‘social dumping’ remains poorly defined and thus subject to misconceptions or conscious abuse. This paper reviews recent public debates and academic studies on real or perceived social dumping threats, drawing attention to the simplistic understanding of the mechanism underlying such practices as well as to enduring operationalization problems.

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Mind the gap: net incomes of minimum wage workers in the EU and the United States

Ive Marx (CSB, University of Antwerp and IZA), Sarah Marchal (CSB, University of Antwerp) and Brian Nolan (University College Dublin)

2012

This working paper focuses on the role of minimum wages, in conjunction with tax and benefit policies, in protecting workers against financial poverty. It covers 20 European countries with a national minimum wage and three US States (New Jersey, Nebraska and Texas). It is shown that only for single persons and only in certain countries do net income packages at minimum wage level reach or exceed the EU’s at-risk-of poverty threshold, which is set at 60 per cent of median equivalent household income in each country.

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The crisis and national labour law reforms: a mapping exercise

Isabelle Schömann (ETUI), Stefan Clauwaert (ETUI)

2012

This Working Paper maps the labour law reforms in various European countries either triggered by the crisis or introduced using the crisis – falsely – as an excuse. Such reforms generally render existing labour law provisions more flexible and loosen minimum standards, shifting the emphasis to soft law (deregulation).

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The governance of economic uncertainty: beyond the 'new social risks' analysis

Maarten Keune (Director of the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies (AIAS) and Associate Researcher ETUI) and Colin Crouch (Emeritus Professor Warwick Business School)

2012

This paper draws on the research done in the framework of the European Union Framework Programme 7 project The Governance of Uncertainty and Sustainability: Tensions and Opportunities (GUSTO).

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Has the economic crisis contributed to more segmentation in labour market and welfare outcomes?

Janine Leschke (ETUI)

2012

This paper analyses whether developments on the labour market and in the welfare system during the economic crisis can be seen as perpetuating the trend towards labour market segmentation or whether the crisis may actually have contributed to containing some of the divisions forged in recent decades.

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The impact of the crisis on earnings and income distribution in the EU

Paul de Beer (University of Amsterdam)

2012

Although the economic crisis that started in 2008 hit all EU member states hard, the impact of the crisis on employment, unemployment, earnings and inequality varied considerably. This paper analyses the variation in the consequences of the crisis among the member states of the EU.

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Financing social security – business as usual?

Norman Wagner (Austrian Federal Chamber of Labour, Vienna)

2011

This working paper assesses the impact on, and challenges to, the ability of welfare systems with different financing mechanisms to cope with the crisis. Additionally, it analyses how the crisis (stimulus measures, austerity packages) contributes to changing the structure of financing systems.

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Employee representation in corporate governance: part of the economic or the social sphere?

Aline Conchon (ETUI)

2011

This ETUI Working Paper aims to present a new way of understanding the processes and potential difficulties of legislating on the issue of worker participation at European level. Based on a renewed analytical framework, it helps reveal the competing political projects advanced by two actors – the ETUC and the European Commission – in this regard.

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Pensions after the financial and economic crisis: a comparative analysis of recent reforms in Europe

David Natali (OSE and University of Bologna-Forlí)

2011

This paper sheds light on the initial impact of the economic and financial crisis on pensions policy across Europe, and assesses the first measures proposed and/or introduced in four EU countries.

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Sustaining or abandoning ‘social peace’?

Kurt Vandaele (ETUI)

2011

Providing a simple quantitative overview and a short macro-comparative analysis of strike activity in Europe since the 1990s, this working paper assesses whether three strike trends observed in the 1990s continued in the next decade.

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The economic crisis – challenge or opportunity for gender equality in social policy outcomes?

Janine Leschke (ETUI), Maria Jepsen (ETUI)

2011

This new working paper aims to assess the impact of the current financial and economic crisis on gender equality in terms of labour market and welfare outcomes.

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Why trade unions seek to coordinate wages and collective bargaining in the Eurozone

Philippe Pochet (ETUI), Vera Glassner (ETUI)

2011

In the run-up to European Monetary Union (EMU) trade unions across Europe began to coordinate their bargaining policies transnationally. This paper provides an overview of the efforts made by European and national trade unions to coordinate collective bargaining and wage formation at the sectoral and intersectoral levels to date, embedding them in the broader framework of a European industrial relations system.

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Withdrawal symptoms: an assessment of the austerity packages in Europe

Sotiria Theodoropoulou and Andrew Watt (ETUI)

2011

Based on a survey of national experts, this Working Paper evaluates from a European and national comparative perspective the austerity packages that the governments of EU member states have announced and implemented following the recent financial crisis and the Great Recession. The study raises serious doubts about the drive for austerity being embarked upon by EU countries.

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Changes in political discourse from the Lisbon Strategy to Europe 2020

Jean-Claude Barbier (senior researcher at Centre national de la recherche scientifique in France)

2011

The aim of this new ETUI Working paper is to identify the changes and enduring features of EU political/policy discourse and to seek to explain them by tentatively relating them to factors regarded as their determinants. While hard facts remain to be checked out in the future, some significant turnings are nevertheless already apparent and clearly identifiable.

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The public sector in the crisis

Vera Glassner (ETUI)

2010

Against the background of governments’ consolidation strategies, ETUI researcher Vera Glassner provides an overview of recent developments in terms of pay, employment and reforms of the pay system in the public sector. Cuts and freezes of public sector wages were most frequently imposed unilaterally by the state. The author argues that the re-establishment of collective bargaining as a mechanism to settle public sector pay is of vital importance in order to prevent downward pressures on wages, maintain workers’ purchasing power and contribute to a stable and balanced economic development within the Eurozone and across the business cycle.

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Not for bad weather: macroanalysis of flexicurity with regard to the crisis

Andranik Tangian

2010

This paper written by Andranik Tangian from the Institute for Economic and Social Research at the Hans-Böckler-Stiftung presents a macroeconomic analysis of flexicurity with regard to the current economic crisis. The analysis is performed with four composite indicators based on statistical figures for 25 countries - flexibility, security, gravity of macroeconomic situation by 2010 and aggravation of macroeconomic situation in 2008–2010. The author concludes that a better alternative to flexicurity would be a normalization of employment relations, i.e. low flexibility, which also would result in less social security expenditure.

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The EU approach to regulating nanotechnology

Aïda Ponce (ETUI)

2010

The health risks posed by the commercial use of nanomaterials have recently come onto the European Commission’s agenda. The Commission has not so far seen a need for specific legislation to govern nanotechnologies - a view not shared by either Parliament or the European trade union movement.

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How do institutions affect the labour market adjustment to the economic crisis in different EU countries?

Andrew Watt (ETUI), Janine Leschke (ETUI)

2010

The economic crisis which began in most European countries in mid-2008 has had severe effects on labour markets. Although no country has escaped the crisis, the extent of output losses and the number of jobs lost, as well as the resulting rise in unemployment, vary considerably between countries. In order to shed light on this issue, this paper examines empirically how the current economic crisis has affected the different European economies in terms of the impact on output, and the knock-on effects, influenced by the specific institutional frameworks, on employment and unemployment.

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Wages in the crisis

Rory O’Farrell (ETUI)

2010
Wages in the crisis cover

The recent global recession has had differing effects on wages across Europe. This paper presents wage patterns for EU countries since the impact of the financial crisis, and compares them to previous trends. Wages in the countries hardest hit by the recession have underperformed when compared to past developments. The role of wages in determining international competitiveness is also examined and the importance of the general price level as opposed to wage levels is highlighted.

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Following the 'organising model' of British unions?

Kurt Vandaele (ETUI, Janine Leschke (ETUI)

2010

This paper aims to provide a survey of the initiatives developed by trade unions in Germany, the Netherlands and the UK for organising non-standard workers and to assess whether, and to what extent, the Dutch and German unions are influenced by British union practices for recruiting new members and among them non-standard workers.

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After Lisbon - Social Europe at the crossroads?

Lars Magnusson (Professor in Economic history, Vice-rector of Uppsala University)

2010

This paper is the result of critical discussions held in the framework of the SALTSA project on the post-2010 continuation of the Lisbon process. The general conclusion is that Europe will continue to need, in the future, a common strategy for growth and sustainable development which builds on the experiences of the ‘old’ Lisbon strategy. That is why the paper starts with analysing the Lisbon process and discussing its various shortcomings. The author argues that a genuinely new strategy will have to adopt a generally different approach when setting priorities.

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The EU and supplementary pensions

Igor Guardiancich and David Natali

2009

Reliance on private retirement pensions is on the increase both at Member State level, via the spread of quasi-mandatory occupational plans, and at EU level, as a result of initiatives including the IORP Directive. This Working Paper analyses the legislative and market trends that underpin this development, assessing the impact of the global financial crisis, presenting the regulatory improvements required, and delineating the future prospects of the market for supplementary pensions.

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Public / private mix in pensions in Europe

David Natali

2009

This Working Paper sheds light on the multi-dimensional and changing interplay between state, market institutions and social partners in relation to supplementary pension schemes, the importance of which is growing across Europe. The paper offers a lucid analysis of the responsibility shared among these three sets of actors to protect against the risk of old age by developing the provision of privately managed fully-funded schemes

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Government and trade union responses to the economic crisis in the financial sector

Vera Glassner (ETUI)

2009

This working paper provides an overview of government and trade union responses to the economic crisis in the financial sector. It provides a comparative presentation of trade union and government responses to the crisis with particular emphasis on the country-specific conditions and practices of collective bargaining and social dialogue. It is based on a survey carried out among financial sector unions affiliated to Uni-Europa.

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Institutional survival and return: examples from the new pension orthodoxy

Igor Guardiancich

2009

The paper analyses the instability of paradigmatic pension reforms enacted in Croatia and Hungary in the late 1990s. Both countries' policy makers unilaterally overhauled the respective retirement systems, but the partial, incoherent or fictive institutional replacement steered the new arrangements away from their original designs.

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Wage policy in Austria and the Netherlands under EMU

Alison Johnston

2009

This paper analyses how wage policy in Austria and the Netherlands was affected by economic and monetary union (EMU). The paper concludes that EMU and the macroeconomic shifts resulting from it have had little influence on wage-setting in Austria and the Netherlands. While wage restraint outcomes did diverge for both countries after the start of EMU, this paper will argue that different wage institutions lead to this divergence. The EMU’s new macroeconomic order did not significantly change either countries microeconomic wage institutions.

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Limits and potential of the use of vouchers for personal services

Anna Maria Sansoni

2009

This working paper presents how 'personal services' i.e. labour supplied within the home or the immediate environment of private individuals have developed in France and Belgium via a voucher system.The paper suggests large numbers of regular jobs have been created despite the fact that shorter working hours are a prevalent feature of these new jobs. In comparison with the actual creation of regular jobs, the quality of the jobs in question seems to be definitely more controversial.

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A quantum of solace? An assessment of fiscal stimulus packages by EU Member States in response to the economic crisis

Andrew Watt (ETUI)

2009

This ETUI Working Paper analyses the fiscal stimulus packages implemented by EU Member States against the background of the on-going economic crisis. Alongside the overall volume of the packages, the study, which is based on a survey of national experts, considers their content and also the involvement – or lack of it – of the social partners and particularly trade unions.

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European Works Councils: an assessment of their social welfare impact

Sigurt Vitols (ETUI)

2009

The working paper analyses the impact of EWCs on four different groups: shareholders, creditors, managers and employees. It argues that EWCs provide a net benefit. There are no significant negative impacts on shareholders and creditors while there are clear positive benefits for employees and managers.

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Intra-EU labour migration: flows, effects and policy responses

Béla Galgóczi (ETUI), Janine Leschke (ETUI), Andrew Watt (ETUI)

2011

This working paper is an update of the 2009/3 ETUI Working Paper that was itself an abridged and revised version of the introductory chapter of the book EU Labour Migration since Enlargement: Trends, Impacts and Policies.

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Paradigm shift: social justice as a prerequisite for sustainable development

Christophe Degryse (ETUI), Philippe Pochet (ETUI)

2009

The authors argue that a new paradigm is needed for European and national policies if the challenge of sustainable development is to be answered. It will not be sufficient to simply adjust policies to short-term considerations. Rather than solely relying on economic growth, it is by promoting social cohesion and protecting the environment that a sustainable society will be created. This will require a re-examination of modes of production, distribution, transport, consumption while integrating within it as a prerequisite the notion of social justice.

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Plant-level responses to the economic crisis in Europe

Béla Galgóczi (ETUI), Vera Glassner (ETUI)

2009

How are social policy actors in major sectors of the European economy responding to the current economic and financial crisis? This working paper summarises the plant-level responses of social policy actors to the symptoms of the current recession between October and mid January 2009. It examines how organised labour and capital responded to the crisis in key sectors and countries and what collective bargaining and labour market policy tools were available to deal with its effects and thus safeguard employment.

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Job quality in Europe

Janine Leschke (ETUI), Andrew Watt (ETUI)

2008

The Lisbon Strategy that was launched in 2000 called for the creation of “more and better” jobs in Europe. Some progress has been made in bringing more Europeans into paid employment and cutting unemployment trends. The goal of better jobs on the other hand has been less ardently pursued resulting in a widespread perception that many of the new jobs that are being created are “bad jobs”. Against this background the ETUI has created a job quality index (JQI) in order to shed light on whether the goal of more jobs has been pursued at the cost of better jobs and how European countries compare with each other with regard to job quality. This Working Paper outlines some of the initial results of what will be a regular monitoring exercise.

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Labour cooperation or labour conflict in the enlarged EU?

Magdalena Bernaciak

2008

This paper examines how Western and CEE trade unions are coping with intensifying cross-border competition. It asks what strategies they employ to increase or preserve employment levels and to improve working conditions in a transnationally competitive environment.

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Wage differentials across sectors in Europe: an east-west comparison

François Rycx, Ilan Tojerow and Daphné Valsamis

2008

The survey contains detailed information on wages, bonuses, age, education, sex, occupation, contracts, working time, sector and region. The findings show that there are large wage differentials between workers employed in different sectors. The results also suggest that wage differentials between sectors are significantly bigger in countries where wage bargaining is weakly coordinated and essentially organised at the firm or establishment level.

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Between innovation and ambiguity

Maarten Keune

2008

'Flexicurity’ has become a core concept in the European labour market debate. This working paper argues that the concept of flexicurity appears ill-defined and highly ambiguous concerning its role in informing policy.

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Putting a number on job quality?

Janine Leschke (ETUI), Andrew Watt (ETUI)

2008

The ETUI has created a European Job Quality Index (JQI). This working paper outlines the choice of data and variables as well as the data processing.

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How do trade unions interact with the European Parliament?

Marton Kovacs

2008

This working paper investigates the current relationship between the European Parliament and the European trade unions, and outlines the challenges from the trade union point of view.

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EU enlargement and social standards: exporting the European Social Model?

Maarten Keune

2008

To what extent is the European Union actively disseminating a social model via enlargement? This working paper examines the social effects of the transposition and implementation of the acquis communautaire, taking account of the (hard and soft) social elements of the acquis as well as some of its economic elements.

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Bridging gaps - Strengthening social Europe

Reiner Hoffmann and Otto Jacobi

2007

This text was originally published in spring 2007 as an article in volume 95 of the “Edition de Hans Boeckler Stiftung” series. The volume was entitled Social Embedding and the integration of markets: an opportunity for transnational trade union action or an impossible task?.

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Relocation

Andrew Watt (ETUI), Béla Galgóczi (ETUI)

2007

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Towards a European Social Model

Thomas Blanke (University of Oldenburg) and Jürgen Hoffmann (University of Hamburg)

2007

European integration has since the mid-fifties been principally economic in nature. Market creating policy is now very much conducted at supranational level. Failure to sufficiently address social policy considerations at the same level has historically resulted in the growth of market-correcting policies in the form of different national social policies and welfare structures which now coexist within the EU.

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Not balanced and hardly new: the European Commission's quest for flexicurity

Maria Jepsen (ETUI)

2007

‘Flexicurity’ has become one of the more fashionable elements of the European political discourse addressing social and economic policies in general and employment and labour market policies in particular. The European Commission is strongly pushing for flexicurity as the answer to Europe’s employment problems and is trying to convince other European and national actors to follow its lead.

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New scope for the Community health and safety at work strategy 2007-2012

Laurent Vogel (ETUI)

2006

This document reviews the failings of the strategy pursued from 2002 to 2006 to recommend a new strategy built around practical initiatives and a definite timetable. The publication makes the union case against any "break from introducing new legislation".

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A new impetus for community occupational health policy

Laurent Vogel (ETUI)

2001

In 2002, the European Commission issued its Community strategy on health and safety at work, 2002-2006. The ETUI stepped into the debates on framing the new strategy with a European trade union consensus paper published jointly with the ETUC.

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Towards a European trade union perspective on sustainable development

Kees Le Blansch (Questions, Answers and More (QA+), Netherlands)

2001

Sustainable development goes to issues that are fundamental for trade unions - issues like hazards, democracy, the principles of justice and access to natural resources.

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Focus

  • The crisis and national labour law reforms: a mapping exercise

    Isabelle Schömann (ETUI) , Stefan Clauwaert (ETUI)

    This Working Paper maps the labour law reforms in various European countries either triggered by the crisis or introduced using the crisis – falsely – as an excuse. Such reforms generally render existing labour law provisions more flexible and loosen minimum standards, shifting the emphasis to soft law (deregulation).