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The Future of IR analysis

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  1. The Future of IR analysis Guy Van Gyes Industrial Relations and Social Dialogue Conference, Budapest, 16 April 2013

  2. Questions to betackled • What are the most significant changes in industrial relations practices, and which are likely to remain? 1 • What are the main trends in industrial relations analysis and do we have the right tools and data for the purpose? 3 • What are likely to be the main issues which industrial relations analysts and social partners will need to address in the coming years? 2

  3. Question 1: CHANGES

  4. Socialdialogue more and more seen as a dinosaurby power elite

  5. 1. Crisis context • Lesswork = lesschoice = more insecurity • Definitebreakthrough – European level of socio-economicgovernance • Beggar-the-neighbourpolicies • Germanwage dumping leadership • Dismantling (?) of Southern model of socialdialogue • Flexibilisationpolicies are on the riseagain (East & South), notflexicurity • Easing of dismissal procedures • Removingbarriersfortemporarycontracts • Liberalisering working time regulation • More strictrulessicknessleave


  6. Employmentrelationship = inherentlycontradictions ECONOMIC EXCHANGE POWER RELATIONSHIP SD = democratisationbyinstitutionalisation (values, rules, norms IR as policy field alwaysbethere in a Europeanmarketeconomy The question is howmuch and what kind of socialdialogueaboutit?

  7. Input fromscience-basedanalysis • Developed SD is a keysocietal instrument against: • EU and national politics = risingdemocratic deficit • Risinginequality (cf. downwardwage trend) • Imbalances are growingbetween EU countries = of socialdialogue; gap betweenstrong and weak is increasing • Complementarityperspective: SD cannotplayitsrolealone, is part of complementarypolicies, institutions in otherdomains => • Institutionsagainstfinancialisationeconomy; long-termperspective in entrepeneurship

  8. Input fromscience-basedanalysis • Europeaneconomy is notdrivenbycost-competitiveness, butbyincome-led, wage-ledgrowth • Income of middle classes is key in the worldeconomy • Demandforunions is growing (gap betweendemand – notdelivering = decreasingmembership) • Micro-macroperspective is different: • Average wage is increasing, because of compositioneffects (low-wage jobs cut) • Downwardwagerigidity of individualwages is high in Belgium; macro-levelwageflexibilitycomparablewith more liberalcountrieslike UK

  9. Question 2: Challenges

  10. Is not a certainpolicytheoryreigningEurope the dinosaur? Solidarityperspective – noteverythingforsale at everyprice – socialdialogue as instrument forthishigh-roadstrategy

  11. Sustainabilityperspective • Prospective studies (notnostaligiclooking back) • What is in itforemployers’ side: securityperspective; macro-perspective • Focus onworkplacesocialdialogue • Role employee representation in workplaceinnovation • Trust factor in change; Strategicinvolvement: • EU wagecoordinationsupporting ‘sustainaible’ growth • Macro-economicrole a minimum Eurozone wagepolicythatlooks to inflation & productivity (function of automaticstabilizerslike minimum wage & automaticwageindexationimplemented at the right level) • Corporategovernance (cf. complementarities) • AssessmentEuropean Company Statute • Monitoring the alternatives • Individualjuridisation • Socialmovementoutside the socialdialogue • ‘Bad’ power practices (ignoringfundamentalrights)

  12. Question 3: TOOLS FOR ANALYSIS

  13. 3.Comparative toolsforanalysis • Keeping and strengtheninglinkedemployer-employeesurveys • Integration of EU agenciessurveys to somethingstronger & better • Harmonisation of data oncollectivelyagreedwages • I&C rights • What kind of financial and economicrightsreps have and how are theyused • Notlooking to structures, butpractices • Sociology of law

  14. Innovation – Evidence-based – Comparative data

  15. Thankyou