Concession bargaining at at workplace level has been spreading in the US and across Europe. It is often framed as a response to organisational or economic crises and therefore as a useful instrument for dealing with employment restructuring in the short term. This policy brief examines the practice of concession bargaining taking as its starting point a campaign on agency work conducted by the German metalworkers union IG Metall.
The policy brief concludes that concession bargaining comes at the expense of the peripheral workforce and undermines, in the long run, the working conditions and wages of core workers. It formulates two main recommendations: 1) unions are invited to actively intervene in workplace bargaining to bring the level of bargaining to the sectoral, national or European level; 2) unions should expand their representation domain to the marginal workforce, which is often used as a benchmark to obtain further concessions on the core workforce.

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