Bargaining in the crisis – University of Copenhagen

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15 August 2011

Bargaining in the crisis

- a comparison of the 2010 collective bargaining round in the Danish and Swedish manufacturing sectors

Article by Christian Lyhne Ibsen, Jørgen Steen Madsen, Søren Kaj Andersen & Jesper Due

The economic crisis weighed heavily on the 2010 collective bargaining rounds in the Danish and Swedish manufacturing sectors - the pattern-setting sectors in both countries. This article analyses and compares the bargaining rounds from agenda-setting to signing, pointing to the significant differences in bargaining structures, processes and output. On the whole, the crisis seems to have had little effect on the Danish bargaining system due to a strong centralization on the employer side through the Confederation of Danish Industries, union moderation and the coordination of bargaining areas by Denmark's mediation institution. Conversely, the bargaining round in Sweden puts a question-mark over the viability of the whole Swedish bargaining system. Union coordination was shattered when the white-collar unions broke ranks and concluded agreements before the LO unions. But more importantly, Teknikfo¨retagen - the biggest employers' federation - quit the Industrial Agreement after the negotiations and, once again, Swedish social partners are being forced to readjust the procedural framework for collective bargaining.

Article in Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research, 17: 323, 2011.