Collective Bargaining Reforms in Southern Europe during the Crisis
We will identify the key changes and their legal and economic interpretation. We will pay special attention to the impacts of centralization and decentralization of collective bargaining in each country, and on expected changes in wage bargaining. In addition, the regulatory changes will be analyzed in light of the framework set by international law, namely ILO Conventions and Recommendations concerning freedom of association and collective bargaining. Indeed, the ILO Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98) and the corresponding Recommendation set framework conditions on collective bargaining that put emphasis on the voluntary nature of collective bargaining as well as the autonomy of the negotiating partners to freely determine the level on which bargaining should happen: national, sectoral, branch or enterprise level. Furthermore, these legal instruments put emphasis on the appropriate representation of bargaining parties. Employers are, by default, institutions in themselves. However, workers should in light of International Labour Standards be represented by trade unions with appropriate legal protection, and only in their absence directly by themselves or any other type of representation. This latter provision has come in some cases in conflict with certain reforms introduced during the crisis.
Finally, we will include a discussion about the expected implications of these changes on the quality of bilateral and tripartite social dialogue.