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.

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Holm-Detlev Köhler and Sergio González Begega: Chapter 1 - Tenneco-Gijón. A case of local worker resistance against a global player .

Drago? Ad?sc?li?ei and ?tefan Guga: Chapter 2 - Coming apart or joining hands? The crisis and current dilemmas of the Romanian trade union movement .

Nadja Doerflinger and Valeria Pulignano: Chapter 3 - Left alone outside? Works councils’ responses to non-standard work in the German metal and chemical sectors

Lander Vermeerbergen, Geert Van Hootegem and Jos Benders: Chapter 4 - ‘Waiting for heaven’ or ‘fearing a new hell’: trade union opinions on the introduction of team-working in a food processing company

Gaëtan Flocco: Chapter 5 - Hierarchical relationships and conflicts in skilled sectors: the case of managers in French industry

Miguel Á. Malo: Chapter 6 - Collective bargaining reforms in Southern Europe during the crisis: impact in the light of international standards

Mona Aranea: Chapter 7 - Multi-level employment relations in the multinational company: evidence from Allianz SE

Sara Lafuente Hernández: Chapter 8 - Uncovering the pitfalls of EU social dialogue from a multi-level perspective. The example of the electricity sector

Aline Hoffmann: Chapter 9 - Still struggling to connect the dots: the cumbersome emergence of multi-level workers’ participation .

Miguel Martínez Lucio: Chapter 10 - Unhinging social dialogue: a review of the politics of pacts and the diverse uses and transformations of the concept of social dialogue

Valeria Pulignano, Holm-Detlev Köhler and Paul Stewart: Introduction

Conclusions: The practitioners’ perspective