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ETUI-industriAll Summer College. European Works Councils and Transnational Company Agreements ETUI-industriAll Collective Bargaining & Company Policy Summer College Sesimbra / Portugal, 11 September 2013 Dr. Torsten Müller European Trade Union Institute - ETUI. Presentation based on.

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ETUI-industriAll Summer College

European Works Councils and Transnational Company Agreements

ETUI-industriAll Collective Bargaining & Company Policy Summer College

Sesimbra / Portugal, 11 September 2013

Dr. Torsten Müller

European Trade Union Institute - ETUI


Presentation based on...

...quantitative analysis of transnational company agreements in the metalworking industry;

  • Objective: more comprehensive overview of developments in the metalworking sector going beyond qualitative analysis of well-known cases

  • Method: telephone interviews with representatives of 82 EWCs (if possible with chair / deputy chair of EWC)

  • German companies slightly overrepresented due to sampling method

ETUI-industriAll CB & CP Summer College, Sesimbra 10-12 September 2013


Key findings

  • Publically accessible documentation of existing agreements is incomplete, but the number of unreported agreements is insufficient to cast doubt on the validity of the available data.

  • Importance of informal arrangements involving EWCs which lack the status of formally negotiated agreements (oral agreement, minutes of EWC meeting)

  • Key conclusions: (1) In practice, EWCs go beyond their formal information and consultation role more frequently than is realised by academics and policymakers; (2) regulation of IR and working conditions at European company level is promoted by more companies than was hitherto believed to be the case.

ETUI-industriAll CB & CP Summer College, Sesimbra 10-12 September 2013


Quantitative Development of TCAs

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ETUI-industriAll CB & CP Summer College, Sesimbra 10-12 September 2013


Transnational Agreements in Metalworking Industries

15 IFAS only

ETUI-industriAll CB & CP Summer College, Sesimbra 10-12 September 2013


Frequency of informal arrangements

Informal arrangements are an overlooked phenomenon: no empirical data so far.

In our sample of 82 EWCs we found 21 companies with informal arrangements: 26%

Overall spread of informal arrangements: 12-15% of all EWCs in the metalworking sector

ETUI-industriAll CB & CP Summer College, Sesimbra 10-12 September 2013


Subjects of formal agreements and informal arrangements

ETUI-industriAll CB & CP Summer College, Sesimbra 10-12 September 2013


Country of origin: formal agreements

Pronounced country-of-origin effect:

  • Formal agreements were predominantly concluded in companies whose global head office and European HQ is located in Germany and France.

  • Further countries: US, Netherlands and Switzerland

ETUI-industriAll CB & CP Summer College, Sesimbra 10-12 September 2013


Location of head office: informal arrangements

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ETUI-industriAll CB & CP Summer College, Sesimbra 10-12 September 2013


Size of companies

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ETUI-industriAll CB & CP Summer College, Sesimbra 10-12 September 2013


(Co-)negotiators of formal agreements and informal arrangements

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ETUI-industriAll CB & CP Summer College, Sesimbra 10-12 September 2013


Reason for formal agreements and informal arrangements arrangements

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ETUI-industriAll CB & CP Summer College, Sesimbra 10-12 September 2013


Reasons for informal arrangements arrangements

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ETUI-industriAll CB & CP Summer College, Sesimbra 10-12 September 2013


Why informal arrangements rather than formal agreements arrangements

1.) Refusal of management to formalise more

  • Most frequent obstacle

  • Opposition from company‘s non-European HQ

  • Fear of setting precedent for other companies

  • Cultural reasons: FR or UK, WC negotiations not seen as appropriate

    2.) Little interest w/in EWC to formalise more (only 20%)

  • Subjects don‘t require further formalisation

  • EWC lacks experience and capacity to negotiate

  • Fear of jeopardising trust relationship with management

  • One country blocked formal negotiations

    3.) Tradition of informal IR arrangements at company

ETUI-industriAll CB & CP Summer College, Sesimbra 10-12 September 2013


Issues for discussion arrangements

  • What does this mean for relationship between EWCs and trade union?

  • What does this mean for application of industriAll’s procedure to deal with negotiations at European company level?

  • What does this mean with respect to the European Commission’s initiative to establish an optional framework for company-level negotiations

ETUI-industriAll CB & CP Summer College, Sesimbra 10-12 September 2013


European Works Councils and TCAs arrangements

Thank you very much for your attention!!!

Dr. Torsten Müller

European Trade Union Institute

Bld. du Roi Albert II, 5

1210 Brussels

Email: [email protected]

ETUI-industriAll CB & CP Summer College, Sesimbra 10-12 September 2013


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