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.