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).

In some countries it consists only of piecemeal although significant deregulatory measures, while in others it involves far-reaching overhauls of the whole labour code. Furthermore, in several countries fundamental changes are being made to industrial relations structures and processes which might jeopardise social dialogue and collective bargaining there.

The authors critically address this large-scale deregulation of labour law currently taking place, in particular the lack of democratic foundations underlying the reforms and their negative impact on fundamental social rights and workers’ protection.

The working paper is also complemented with individual country reports which analyse on a country-by-country basis latest developments as regards national labour law reforms. These country reports are only available in English. They can be found in the right column of this webpage. These reports will be regularly updated.

Table of contents

Working Paper 2012.04: Full text

Annex to Working Paper 2012.04: Country by country analysis