7 August 2018

Collective wage bargaining under strain in northern European construction

Internationalization, trade union decline, enforcement problems and rising self-employment all strain the effectiveness of collective wage bargaining arrangements in northern European construction. We examine Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and the UK, and show that these strains have pushed trade unions to seek assistance from the state to stabilize wage regulation, but with results that vary according to employer strategies and the power balances between the actors. While Denmark and the UK have barely introduced any state support, Norway has followed the Netherlands and Germany in introducing legal mechanisms for extension of collectively agreed minimum wage terms. The country studies suggest that state assistance alleviates some of the strain, but does not reverse the trends, and the comparison indicates that both institutional innovation and reorganization may be required if wage bargaining is not to drift into different functions.

Read full article 'Collective wage bargaining under strain in northern European construction: Resisting institutional drift?' in European Journal of Industrial Relations (login required)