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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2002

Jan Kees Looise and Michiel Drucker

The internationalisation of enterprises is expected to undermine national systems of employee representation. This paper assesses the extent to which this expectation can…

2821

Abstract

The internationalisation of enterprises is expected to undermine national systems of employee representation. This paper assesses the extent to which this expectation can be confirmed. Using a survey of Dutch works councils, we compare national, Dutch multinational and foreign multinational firms. Using another survey, we then assess the role of European works councils within Dutch MNEs. The results of the first survey show that the influence of works councils in multinational firms, especially with respect to strategic policy, but also, to a lesser extent, regarding organisational and personnel issues is decreasing. From the second survey, we learn that European works councils have so far not compensated for this decrease in influence. We conclude that the undermining of employee representation at the national level can only be counteracted by a combination of further regulations at the European level, a change in (top) management attitudes in European MNEs and the close co‐operation of employee representatives within the respective countries and at the different levels.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 24 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 September 1994

Paul Teague

EU social policy is perhaps the most controversial aspect of Europeanintegration yet, despite all the political clashes on the matter,concepts like “social Europe” or…

2272

Abstract

EU social policy is perhaps the most controversial aspect of European integration yet, despite all the political clashes on the matter, concepts like “social Europe” or “social dimension” remain ill‐defined and imprecise terms. Intends to outline and clarify in detail the debate about whether or not the European Union should have competence with regard to labour market affairs. A key message is that social policy has been controversial because it has become embroiled in the debate about the future political direction of the EU. In particular, three contrasting political models –symbiotic integration, integrative federalism and neo‐liberalism – have been put forward as organizing principles for the EU and each has a coherent view of what form social policy should take at the European level. It is the clash between these three models that has caused EU social policy to be so contestable and intractable.

Book part
Publication date: 7 December 2021

John T. Addison and Paulino Teixeira

Using data from the 2013 European Company Survey, this chapter operationalizes the representation gap as the desire for greater employee involvement in decision-making…

Abstract

Using data from the 2013 European Company Survey, this chapter operationalizes the representation gap as the desire for greater employee involvement in decision-making expressed by the representative of the leading employee representative body at the workplace. According to this measure, there is evidence of a substantial shortfall in employee involvement in the European Union, not dissimilar to that reported for the United States. The chapter proceeds to investigate how the size of this representation gap varies by type of representative structure, information provided by management, the resource base available to the representatives, and the status of trust between the parties. Perceived deficits are found to be smaller where workplace representation is via works councils rather than union bodies. Furthermore, the desire for greater involvement is reduced where information provided the employee representative on a range of establishment issues is judged satisfactory. A higher frequency of meetings with management also appears to mitigate the expressed desire for greater involvement. Each of these results is robust to estimation over different country clusters. However, unlike the other arguments, the conclusion that shortfalls in employee involvement representation are smaller under works councils than union bodies is nullified where trust in management is lacking.

Article
Publication date: 2 January 2009

Marie Bailey

This paper aims to analyse the effectiveness of European Works Councils (EWCs) as a mechanism of employee voice from the perspective of Hungarian workers in UK‐owned…

2199

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to analyse the effectiveness of European Works Councils (EWCs) as a mechanism of employee voice from the perspective of Hungarian workers in UK‐owned multinational companies (MNCs). In addition, it analyses the role of prevailing systems of employee voice in Hungary, such as trade unions and works councils, assessing their capacity to influence the work of the EWC.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a qualitative approach, the data are drawn from three case studies and comprise a series of semi‐structured interviews, whilst observational and archival data provide additional information. Interview participants primarily consisted of EWC representatives from the UK and Hungary, together with a number of central and local managers and trade union officials.

Findings

The data are presented using a five‐themed framework, devised to highlight a number of key themes and comparisons. Evidence suggests fundamental differences in the quality of EWCs, with some providing a better mechanism of voice than others. The level of consultation, managerial and employee attitudes, Eastern European working conditions, training and inadequate communication strategies form some of the major issues identified in the study. Furthermore, trade union involvement and the impact that local works councils have in general proved limited in enhancing the success of the EWC.

Practical implications

The implications for improving the Hungarian voice within the EWC forum are discussed.

Originality/value

The paper confirms existing issues surrounding EWCs, extending the existing field of literature and offering a unique insight into the impact of EWCs in Hungary.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 31 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 15 December 2003

Jo Carby‐Hall

Describes two‐way dialogue, between each side of industry, is a key element in social policy. Proposes to analyse and comment on some of the social dialogue, in particular…

Abstract

Describes two‐way dialogue, between each side of industry, is a key element in social policy. Proposes to analyse and comment on some of the social dialogue, in particular both the role and significance of this notion in the soon‐to‐be enlarged Europe. Acknowledges that the ten candidate countries that join on 1 May 2004 must build a social dialogue and negotiate and conclude collective agreements.

Details

Managerial Law, vol. 45 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0558

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 January 1977

A distinction must be drawn between a dismissal on the one hand, and on the other a repudiation of a contract of employment as a result of a breach of a fundamental term…

1732

Abstract

A distinction must be drawn between a dismissal on the one hand, and on the other a repudiation of a contract of employment as a result of a breach of a fundamental term of that contract. When such a repudiation has been accepted by the innocent party then a termination of employment takes place. Such termination does not constitute dismissal (see London v. James Laidlaw & Sons Ltd (1974) IRLR 136 and Gannon v. J. C. Firth (1976) IRLR 415 EAT).

Details

Managerial Law, vol. 20 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0558

Article
Publication date: 1 January 2006

Andrew R. Timming

The purpose of this paper is to look analytically at the relationship between identity and trust in the context of European industrial relations.

1667

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to look analytically at the relationship between identity and trust in the context of European industrial relations.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing from a case study of a European works council from a large, multinational firm in the traditional manufacturing sector, the problem of exclusionary identity choices along the lines of national cultures and industrial relations is examined via ethnographic methods.

Findings

In the light of the delegates' assumed identities, it was found that trust relations in the European Works Council case study were characteristically sub‐optimal both between worker and employers' representatives and also among the workers themselves. The extensive lack of trust in the forum was thought to be problematic with respect to the prospects for co‐operation. As a result, employers' representatives are able to use the European works council as a self‐serving tool of human resource management.

Practical implications

The implications for improving cross‐national industrial relations action are spelled out in the conclusion.

Originality/value

The paper offers a unique approach to studying the obstacles to co‐operation in European industrial relations settings.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 28 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 July 2002

Horst Feldmann

During the course of European integration social policy has become an increasingly important policy area of the European Union. The paper analyses whether the EU’s…

1729

Abstract

During the course of European integration social policy has become an increasingly important policy area of the European Union. The paper analyses whether the EU’s social‐policy measures improve the living conditions of the socially weaker groups. All three areas of European social policy are analysed: the co‐ordination of the member states’ social security systems, the harmonisation of the working conditions and the promotion of equal opportunities, social integration and vocational training. This paper shows that the EU’s social‐policy measures have numerous disadvantages. In particular, they often are detrimental to the very people who the EU intends to protect and promote.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 29 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 August 2005

Emer O’Hagan

The European Works Council (EWC) Directive reflects a shift to a softer style of governance which has been adopted by the EU in recent years. This article sets out to…

Abstract

Purpose

The European Works Council (EWC) Directive reflects a shift to a softer style of governance which has been adopted by the EU in recent years. This article sets out to explore how successful this soft style governance is when implemented at the national level.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper introduces the literature on the subject and shows that two main theses have been developed to date; one which favours the softer mechanism of governance and one which is critical of it. Two propositions are developed from the literature. The article explores them by examining them in light of the manner in which the Directive has bedded down in the Irish context. It does this through a micro and macro analysis of material available on the EWC in Ireland and a series of interviews. Ireland is regarded as a suitable arena in which to explore these propositions.

Findings

The article finds that the EWC Directive was implemented in Ireland in a manner which was deemed suitable for its smooth integration into the Irish context. However, the transposition’s flexible nature is such that it is unclear that it has made any significant contribution to Ireland’s system of industrial relations. It is suggested that the EU may not yet have developed a form of governance suitable for a disparate, expanding community.

Originality/value

The paper provides a micro‐analysis of how the EWC Directive has been transposed in one Member State (Ireland). It combines this with a macro‐analysis which enables us to compare the Irish transposition with other Member States. This approach indicates that the Directive has been applied in a very heterogeneous style throughout the Member States, which tends to reproduce indigenous industrial relations systems rather than reform or challenge them.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 27 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 February 1999

Thomas Murakami

The paper contributes to the discussion on works councils and teamwork in the German auto industry. General Motors’ Opel plant in Germany has been chosen to study works

1605

Abstract

The paper contributes to the discussion on works councils and teamwork in the German auto industry. General Motors’ Opel plant in Germany has been chosen to study works councils’ participation in the process of introducing teamwork, and the effects of teamwork on workers’ representation on the shopfloor. The paper discusses the “dual structure” of works councils and union representatives, and will examine their role during the introduction of teamwork and relationship to their elected team spokespersons. The two key findings are: first, both levels of workers’ representation have contributed to the successful introduction of workplace changes and second, team spokespersons can be seen as a third level of workers’ representation.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 21 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

Keywords

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