Gian Primo Cella

Increasing difficulties for the industrial relations (European and Italian)

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: JEL Classifications: J51 - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects; F23 - Multinational Firms; International Business; J81 - Working Conditions

The object of this article concerns the destiny of the industrial relations as a method of regulation of the labour contracts and as an instrument of achievement of the industrial citizenship, complementary to the social protection of the welfare state. The point of departure regards the effects of new globalized markets on union action and collective bargaining. Effects that mainly consist in new possibilities for multinational companies to exploit a gigantic open shop (the real enemy of industrial relations, especially of the pluralistic type). On the European arena this processes are at the origin of a generalized trend of decentralization of collective bargaining structures, with the withering away of the traditional industry wide agreements. A process that goes with a fall in bargaining coverage, jointly with a decrease of unionization rates. In the fortress of institutionalized industrial relations, the German experience, the channel for decentralization has been the spread of opening clauses of the industrial agreements. On this background the Italian experience follows (as shown by the FIAT case) some European common patterns even if with some particularities, not only the weakness on the institutional framework, but above all the harsh competition among the different trade union cultures. The destiny of the pluralistic industrial relations, not necessarily of the trade unions if involved in policies of union renewal, looks very uncertain. For many aspects a success era could be over.

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