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Article
Publication date: 31 December 2019

Siqi Luo and Tao Yang

The purpose of this paper is to illustrate that some enterprise unions in South China, as strategic labor actors, made local progress in collective bargaining, but further…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to illustrate that some enterprise unions in South China, as strategic labor actors, made local progress in collective bargaining, but further elaborates on why gainful bargaining would require a more systematic understanding of the prevailing industrial structure.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is mainly drawn from intensive site visits and 51 in-depth interviews in 2013 and 2014, and several follow-ups up to 2018. Three cases of collective bargaining, featuring different union strategies of assertive negotiation, informal cooperation and direct confrontation, are discussed in detail.

Findings

The study illustrates that viable collective bargaining with worker-supported unions is possible in China. However, the effectiveness of bargaining does not count on this alone; the supply chain structure also imposes significant constraints, mainly by narrowing the bargaining scope of each supplier and differentiating the structural power of their unions. In these cases, institutionalized union coordination beyond individual suppliers is proposed.

Research limitations/implications

These cases began as post-strike bargaining in Japanese auto supply chains and became the frontier of industrial relations in China. The impact of the supply chain in different sectors or regions requires further study.

Originality/value

This paper draws attention to the effect of an “invisible” but increasingly significant factor, industrial structure, on enterprise-level collective bargaining in China, unlike many previous criticisms of unwillingness or incompetence among labor actors.

Details

Employee Relations: The International Journal, vol. 42 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1979

In order to succeed in an action under the Equal Pay Act 1970, should the woman and the man be employed by the same employer on like work at the same time or would the…

Abstract

In order to succeed in an action under the Equal Pay Act 1970, should the woman and the man be employed by the same employer on like work at the same time or would the woman still be covered by the Act if she were employed on like work in succession to the man? This is the question which had to be solved in Macarthys Ltd v. Smith. Unfortunately it was not. Their Lordships interpreted the relevant section in different ways and since Article 119 of the Treaty of Rome was also subject to different interpretations, the case has been referred to the European Court of Justice.

Details

Managerial Law, vol. 22 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0558

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Article
Publication date: 1 November 2003

Koen Nomden, David Farnham and Marie‐Laure Onnee‐Abbruciati

This article shows that regulation of the employment relationship in European public services has tended to give more importance to collective bargaining than to…

Abstract

This article shows that regulation of the employment relationship in European public services has tended to give more importance to collective bargaining than to unilateral employer regulation. Although collective bargaining is a general trend, it is not the same in every country. This article concentrates on collective bargaining levels and the outcomes of collective bargaining in selected European states. A major explanatory factor of the extent of collective bargaining is the nature of the civil service system. Reformed “non‐career” systems tend to adopt collective bargaining institutions, resulting in binding collective agreements between employers and unions, while classical “career” systems do not.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 16 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

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Book part
Publication date: 19 June 2011

Lucio Baccaro

Purpose – Ascertaining the extent to which the generalized decline in union density, as well as the erosion in centralized bargaining structures and developments in other…

Abstract

Purpose – Ascertaining the extent to which the generalized decline in union density, as well as the erosion in centralized bargaining structures and developments in other labor institutions, have contributed to rising within-country inequality.

Methodology – Econometric analysis of a newly developed dataset combining information on industrial relations and labor law, various dimensions of globalization, and controls for demand and supply of skilled labor for 51 Advanced, Central and Eastern European, Latin American, and Asian countries from the late 1980s to the early 2000s, followed by an analysis of 16 advanced countries over a longer time frame (from the late 1970s to the early 2000s).

Findings – In contrast to previous research, which finds labor institutions to be important determinants of more egalitarian wage or income distributions, the chapter finds that trade unionism and collective bargaining are no longer significantly associated with within-country inequality, except in the Central and Eastern European countries. These findings are interpreted as the result of trade unionism operating under more stringent structural constraints than in the past, partly as a result of globalization trends. In addition, despite much talk about welfare state crisis, welfare states, historically the result of labor's power and mobilization capacity, still play an important redistributive role, at least in advanced countries.

Practical implications – Union attempts at equalizing incomes by compressing market earnings seem ineffective and impractical in the current day and age. Unions should seek to increase the workers’ skill levels and promote an egalitarian transformation of the workplace. This type of “supply-side” egalitarianism is not a new strategy for unions, but is very much embedded in the unions’ DNA.

Details

Comparing European Workers Part B: Policies and Institutions
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-931-9

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Book part
Publication date: 18 October 2011

Juhana Vartiainen

The chapter presents a historical and economic analysis of Nordic wage formation, with a special focus on how collective agreements really work. A stereotypical…

Abstract

The chapter presents a historical and economic analysis of Nordic wage formation, with a special focus on how collective agreements really work. A stereotypical interpretation of the evolution of Nordic wage bargaining systems is that a centralised setting of wages has gradually been substituted with more decentralised pay bargaining. This overlooks the fact that central organisations could never really control wage levels, even in the golden age of centralised bargaining. Instead, central pay bargains defined minimum wage changes that ensured that local conflicts would be ruled out. Moreover, the central stipulations could often be overruled or adjusted at the local level. Following insights of Teulings and Hartog, we argue that the main function of Nordic collective agreements has always been to rule out local conflicts that would otherwise be initiated to seek local rents. Thus, collective agreements combine macroeconomic flexibility with adequate investment incentives at the local level. In this crucial sense, Nordic collective agreements are a completely stable institution. The most important transformation that has taken place is that formal peak bargaining on mean pay increases has been substituted with pattern bargaining where the manufacturing industry acts as a wage leader. Economic theory suggests that this almost amounts to centralised pay setting.

Details

The Nordic Varieties of Capitalism
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-778-0

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Article
Publication date: 24 February 2020

Juan Francisco Canal Domínguez and César Rodríguez Gutiérrez

This paper analyses the relationship between wage dispersion and firm size within a “two-tier” system of collective bargaining (firm bargaining and multi-employer…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper analyses the relationship between wage dispersion and firm size within a “two-tier” system of collective bargaining (firm bargaining and multi-employer bargaining levels). Collective bargaining has a decisive role in setting wages in Spain, and its regulation highly limits the possibility for smaller firms to negotiate their own collective agreement.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on the Spanish Structure of Earnings Survey 2006, 2010 and 2014, the authors use variance decomposition in order to deeply analyse the effect of bargaining level on wage dispersion and compare the value of each decile of the distribution of wages for the purposes of identifying the quantitative differences in wage compression.

Findings

In general, the outcomes positively linked firm size and firm bargaining to wage dispersion. However, if firm size is taken into account, the effect of firm bargaining is limited among small firm workers because this type of firm is not usually covered by firm bargaining. On the other hand, the time analysis allows observing a wage compression that follows different patterns depending on firm size, compressing the higher part of the distribution in case of small firms and the lower part in case of large firms. This should be explained by the fact that wage negotiation is dependent on firm size.

Social implications

Firm size has determined firm adjustment strategies to face the recent economic crisis and allows to evaluate the impact that changes in collective bargaining can have on wage distribution

Originality/value

There is no research that has tried to analyse the relationship between wage dispersion and firm size in a context where collective bargaining is essential to understand the wage structure. Normally, firm size plays a decisive role in wage policy given that the capacity of a company to negotiate an agreement is closely linked to its size.

Details

International Journal of Manpower, vol. 41 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7720

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 1984

J.R. Carby‐Hall

This monograph considers a further set of state and statutory functions which are connected with collective bargaining and to examine whether or not there effectively…

Abstract

This monograph considers a further set of state and statutory functions which are connected with collective bargaining and to examine whether or not there effectively existed, or exists, directly and indirectly, encouragement for the promotion of collective bargaining.

Details

Managerial Law, vol. 26 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0558

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2001

John Gennard and Kirsty Newsome

Analyses the UNI‐Europa Graphical Sector (UEGS) agreement on European co‐ordination of collective bargaining initially made in 1999. Explains the purpose of the agreement…

Abstract

Analyses the UNI‐Europa Graphical Sector (UEGS) agreement on European co‐ordination of collective bargaining initially made in 1999. Explains the purpose of the agreement, its objectives, its main components, the principles underpinning it and the mechanisms by which it is reviewed. Provides empirical data on the extent to which graphical trade unions (all affiliated to the UEGS throughout Europe, in their 2000 collective bargaining round with graphical employers, were able to make accommodations consistent with the spirit of the co‐ordination of collective bargaining agreement. The research is based on official publications of UEGS, the Minutes of its Collective Bargaining Committee, the reports of its annual general meetings and attendance at its Annual Collective Bargaining Conference for Negotiators.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 23 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

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Article
Publication date: 8 February 2019

Sian Moore, Ozlem Onaran, Alexander Guschanski, Bethania Antunes and Graham Symon

The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to reassert the persistent association of the decline in collective bargaining with the increase in income inequality, the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to reassert the persistent association of the decline in collective bargaining with the increase in income inequality, the fall in the share of wages in national income and deterioration in macroeconomic performance in the UK; and second, to present case studies affirming concrete outcomes of organisational collective bargaining for workers, in terms of pay, job quality, working hours and work-life balance.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based upon two methodological approaches. First, econometric analyses using industry-level and firm-level data for advanced and emerging economies testing the relationship between declining union density, collective bargaining coverage and the fall in the share of wages in national income. Second, it reports on ten in-depth case studies of collective bargaining each based upon analysis of collective bargaining agreements plus in-depth interviews with the actors party to them: in total, 16 trade union officers, 16 members and 11 employer representatives.

Findings

There is robust evidence of the effects of different measures of bargaining power on the labour share including union density, welfare state retrenchment, minimum wages and female employment. The case studies appear to address a legacy of deregulated industrial relations. A number demonstrate the reinvigoration of collective bargaining at the organisational and sectoral level, addressing the two-tier workforce and contractual differentiation, alongside the consequences of government pay policies for equality.

Research limitations/implications

The case studies represent a purposive sample and therefore findings are not generalisable; researchers are encouraged to test the suggested propositions further.

Practical implications

The paper proposes that tackling income inequality requires a restructuring of the institutional framework in which bargaining takes place and a level playing field where the bargaining power of labour is more in balance with that of capital. Collective bargaining addresses a number of the issues raised by the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices as essential for “good work”, yet is at odds with the review’s assumptions and remedies. The case studies reiterate the importance of the development of strong workplace representation and bargaining at workplace level, which advocates for non-members and provides a basis for union recruitment, organisation and wider employee engagement.

Originality/value

The paper indicates that there may be limits to employer commitment to deregulated employment relations. The emergence of new or reinvigorated collective agreements may represent a concession by employers that a “free”, individualised, deinstitutionalised, precarious approach to industrial relations, based on wage suppression and work intensification, is not in their interests in the long run.

Details

Employee Relations: The International Journal, vol. 41 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 1991

Rosemary Lucas

For much of their history, wages councils havefunctioned in conditions in which public policy, asexpressed in legislation, has favoured thedevelopment of voluntary…

Abstract

For much of their history, wages councils have functioned in conditions in which public policy, as expressed in legislation, has favoured the development of voluntary collective bargaining. Since 1979 there has been a marked change of emphasis. The effect of the legislative framework and other factors on the development of voluntary collective bargaining is discussed. Some recent research findings on wage regulation in hotels are presented and the future prospects for collective bargaining in the hotel industry are considered.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 13 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

Keywords

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