Models of collective bargaining and Labour Law

22 Jun to 23 Jun

Coordinators: Julia López López (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

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Description of the meeting


Financiado por MINECO (Ref. DER2015-69652-P) y FEDER, UE
Supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, Grant DER2015-69652-P and FEDER, UE

Our proposal builds on the research about legal regulation of collective bargaining using cases study as methodological tool. This approach allows framing the different practices in comparison and at the same time, deepening in the study of collective bargaining models as multilevel processes. Defining collective bargaining as a process integrating information and consultation provides a far‐reaching scope of study on news forms of governance that combine national level within a broader multilevel map of reference: transnational, national, sector or company collective agreements play an interactive role when defining models of collective bargaining. From some time now, our research group is involved in the collective bargaining topic as a tool for better labour relations in a transnational context. Process of deliberation and agreement have to be integrated in a context of conflict, have to be study integrating the debates about new form of activism.

In this line, we have held different seminars in UPF ‐ Barcelona. Some of the most recent examples are: Multilevel governance in Transnational Labour Law: Regulatory Experimentation and the Role of the Decentred State, by Adelle Blackett, McGill University, July 1, 2014; New Governance Institutions in the Work Arena, pluri‐participative workshop, June 22, 2015; Negociación colectiva y gobernanza de las relaciones laborales, workshop centered on the Spanish case, October 21, 2015; Collective bargaining in Norway: Tri‐partite concertation, wage formation and pensions, by Stein Evju, University of Oslo, November 18, 2015, Nuevas Instituciones de Gobernanza en el Trabajo: una visión desde la protección por desempleo, by Alexandre de le Court, UPF, February 2, 2016 and  some of the participants have presented papers in Lucca (IT) Conference , March 10-12 , 2016 on Barriers to Union Organizing.

The first part of our research plan for the Seminar is to perform an update on the characterization of bargaining models by country groups, the first of which would be of predominantly Anglo‐Saxon formulation, the second group would consist of those that fit the traditional continental model and finally the third group of hybrid cases. The starting point to characterize these models of collective bargaining will be to identify the factors marked by the relation with the legal norms through the definition of the negotiating actors and, lastly, by the effectiveness that agreements present at a national level.

The second part will focus on supranational bargaining levels. The emergence of multinational corporations and the complexity of enterprise networks led to the formation of multilevel collective bargaining structures which, on the basis of social dialogue, must be the object of attention for labour law doctrine. Here it is necessary to utilize the same methodology as on the previous point, by completing a study of actors, members of unions or not, continuing with a study of the typologies of agreements and ending with an analysis of the effectiveness that these present within the legal framework. As a second level of study of collective bargaining, we shall examine cases where unions intervene at an international level, as in the International Trade Union Confederation and Global Unions. The changing definition of negotiating actors, of examples of social dialogue and of forms of impact on other levels are very novel aspects of labor relations in the current framework. Here we should mention International Framework Agreements (IFAs) and Global Framework. Agreements (GFAs) signed by Global Unions. The complete picture of actors within these agreements is complex, with a unionized profile, collecting different contents and with a relation with the other bargaining instruments. No doubt all these agreements present a continuity that allows one to argue that these are instruments of governance in the regulation of labor regulation. The main goal of the Seminar is to analyze the current models of collective bargaining. The role of the norms, actors, and general contents with specific references to: equality, gender discrimination, employment clauses and effectiveness of these agreements. The element of coordination of levels will be a reference point in the analysis of the cases considering the impact on the governance of labor relations as well as their impact on reducing inequalities. On the other hand the Seminar will analyze the forms of transnational collective bargaining: collective agreements and international agreements. At the latter level, International Framework Agreements (IFAs) and Global Framework Agreements (GFAs) will be  the object of study, delimiting the negotiating actors, the type of agreement, the content ‐with emphasis on equal treatment and non‐discrimination by gender and the employment clauses and their legal effectiveness‐, from the advantageous point provided by a general map of hard and soft law rules. Last but not least, the final outcome of the seminar is geared to come up with proposals of legal policies aimed to improve the governance of labor relations and the implementation of the Decent Work Agenda of the United Nations.

Key words - democracy, process of agency, collective agreements, unions , channels of workers representation, activism, strikes, protest and picketing.

For more information: 

Malen Gordoa Mendizabal

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