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LEVEL UP! Support and develop collective bargaining coverage

Číslo 55

LEVEL UP! Support and develop collective bargaining coverage

Autori: Ceccon, D. , Kahancová, M. , Martišková, M. , Medas, G. and Šumichrast, A.
Publikované dňa: máj 2023


Collective bargaining is undergoing a transformation to address various emerging issues in European labour markets. These include, for example, questions of job stability and wage depreciation in the energy and inflation crises, changes to working time, accommodating worker needs in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, seeking a work-life balance among European workers, the mitigation of work-related risks from exposure to political radicalism, work-related migration and the right for equal working conditions for all workers, and last but not least, the increased use of digital technologies for managing worker data and worker surveillance in a fair and transparent way. Based on an extensive literature review and analysis of the content of collective agreements, this report shows how multi-employer bargaining (MEB) can be beneficial for tackling such complex challenges. It presents the arguments in favour of MEB, the benefits for workers, trade unions, employers and for society, the preconditions for its proper functioning, but also the obstacles to MEB as reported across various European countries. The main benefits of MEB include equality, professionalism, efficiency, and conflict prevention are relevant for various kinds of stakeholders – for workers, for unions, for employers, and for the society in general.

  • For workers, MEB secures equality in terms of pay, gender equality, and equal access to a variety of stipulations of their individual working conditions. MEB agreements regulate a broad range of issues to the benefit of workers. Workers know these conditions apply across many employers.
  • For workers’ unions, MEB helps coordinating working conditions, maintaining trade union power and ensure professional bargaining.
  • For employers, MEB offers efficiency and professionalism in bargaining, allows pooling resources of small employers together toward professional collective bargaining. Employers also benefit from equal conditions and do not need to undergo a rats’ race for hiring and maintaining skilled and committed workers, because MEB secures that the same conditions apply also for the competitors.
  • For society as a whole, MEB is beneficial because it strengthens cooperation and democracy. It is also an important governance element that complements public policy and is related to less inequality in society.

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