European Integration and Industrial Relations: Multi-Level by Paul Marginson, Keith Sisson (auth.)

By Paul Marginson, Keith Sisson (auth.)

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Calmfors and Driffill cite the Nordic countries (at the time) and Japan and the US, respectively, as examples of the two Introduction: Contested Terrain 13 extremes. Where bargaining is centralized, negotiators are said to take account of the wider economic consequences of their actions. Where it is fully decentralized to firm level, negotiators are held to take account of the impact of settlements on the firm’s competitiveness. Either way, wage moderation and therefore low inflation is secured at lower levels of unemployment and higher rates of economic growth than in the intermediate cases.

Wider considerations The impact of European integration raises wider issues which are the subject of continuing controversy across social science. Of particular relevance to our arguments are debates around three: convergence 18 European Integration and Industrial Relations and divergence; the relationship between ‘globalization’ and ‘Europeanization’; and the nature and extent of the choice available to actors. Our approach to each needs to be made explicit if the book’s argument is to be fully appreciated.

These assumptions need to be substantiated and in the process the context filled in. The first assumption is that ‘Europeanization’ rather than ‘globalization’ is the key reference point – that ‘Europeanization’, in other words, is not just a cipher for ‘globalization’. The second is that it is meaningful to characterize the EU polity as a ‘multi-level system of governance’ with a capability to exercise a significant influence on industrial relations developments. The third is that it is possible to identify the main contours of a ‘European industrial relations model’ as a constituent element of the European social model, even though the EU framework is skeletal and there are many points of difference between the systems of the member countries.

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