Within the framework of the new European economic governance, neoliberal views on wages have further increased in prominence and have steered various reforms of collective bargaining rules and practices. As the crisis in Europe came to be largely interpreted as a crisis of competitiveness, wages were seen as the core adjustment variable for ‘internal devaluation’, the claim being that competitiveness could be restored through a reduction of labour costs.

This book proposes an alternative view according to which wage developments need to be strengthened through a Europe-wide coordinated reconstruction of collective bargaining as a precondition for more sustainable and more inclusive growth in Europe. It contains major research findings from the CAWIE2 – Collectively Agreed Wages in Europe – project, conducted in 2014–2015 for the purpose of discussing and debating the currently dominant policy perspectives on collectively-bargained wage systems under the new European economic governance.

A German version of this book is available via VSA Verlag Germany.

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Table of contents

Full text

Guy Van Gyes and Thorsten Schulten: Introduction

Guy Van Gyes and Sem Vandekerckhove: Chapter 1 - Indicators of collectively agreed wages in the euro zone: a quality report

Noélie Delahaie, Sem Vandekerckhove and Catherine Vincent: Chapter 2 - Wages and collective bargaining systems in Europe during the crisis

Jesús Cruces, Ignacio Álvarez, Francisco Trillo and Salvo Leonardi: Chapter 3 - Impact of the euro crisis on wages and collective bargaining in southern Europe - a comparison of Italy, Portugal and Spain

Søren Kaj Andersen, Christian Lyhne Ibsen, Kristin Alsos, Kristine Nergaard and Pekka Sauramo: Chapter 4 - Changes in wage policy and collective bargaining in the Nordic countries - a comparison of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden

Szilvia Borbély and László Neumann: Chapter 5 - Similarities and diversity in the development of wages and collective bargaining in central and eastern European countries - a comparison of Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic

Lewis Emery: Chapter 6 - Multi-employer bargaining in the UK - does it have a future?

Torsten Müller, Thorsten Schulten and Sepp Zuckerstätter: Chapter 7 - Wages and economic performance in Europe

Maarten Keune: Chapter 8 - Less governance capacity and more inequality: the effects of the assault on collective bargaining in the EU

Odile Chagny and Michel Husson: Chapter 9 - Looking for an 'optimal wage regime' for the euro zone

Thorsten Schulten, Torsten Müller and Line Eldring: Chapter 10 - Prospects and obstacles of a European minimum wage policy

Thorsten Schulten, Line Eldring and Reinhard Naumann: Chapter 11 - The role of extension for the strength and stability of collective bargaining in Europe

Thorsten Schulten and Guy Van Gyes: Concluding remarks

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