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Session Overview
RN17_07b: Collective Bargaining and Labour Market Regulations
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Ylva Ulfsdotter Eriksson, University of Gothenburg
Location: UP.1.219
University of Manchester Building: University Place, First Floor Oxford Road

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The Sectoral Variegated Impact of Internal Devaluation and the Reconfiguration of Collective Bargaining in Portugal

Paulo Marques1, Maria da Paz Campos Lima2, Ana Costa1, Nuno Teles3

1ISCTE-IUL and DINÂMIA'CET-IUL; 2DINÂMIA'CET-IUL; 3Universidade Federal da Bahia

Comparative European studies highlighted how the neoliberal and austerity reforms, imposed in Southern Countries corresponded to a strategy of internal devaluation, which ignored national specificities and provoked the erosion of employment regulations and collective bargaining institutions (Schulten and Müller, 2013; Marginson, 2014; Van Gyes and  Schulten, 2015; Cruces et al, 2015; Koukiadaki et al, 2016; Campos Lima, 2017). In our presentation we will look at the sector variegated effects of “internal devaluation” (Rodrigues et al., 2016) in Portugal, hypothesizing that they are associated with the sectoral impacts of liberalisation and of financialization, with the sectoral impacts of economic and financial crisis of 2007-2008, and with the characteristics at sector level of industrial relations institutions and relative capacities of the actors, in particular organized labour. Furthermore, we hypothesize that sectoral variation, as hypothesized by Streeck (2009), might have been related with employers interest on keeping some degree of coordination in some sectors. Having into consideration this background, this paper will examine the sector effects of the process of internal devaluation, by looking at the reconfiguration of industrial relations institutions and at the dynamics and outcomes of collective bargaining at sector level, between 2000 and 2018, in Portugal. We will present the first results of a comparative extensive analysis comprising six sectors (Banking, Telecommunications, Metal, Clothing, Construction, and Hotels and Restaurants) and the first results of three in-depth case studies (to extract from that sample), with contrasting patterns in terms of employment and industrial relations and contrasting impacts in terms of internal devaluation.

Precarious Journalists and Collective Bargaining

Jožica Čehovin Zajc

University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

Economic, political and social pressures, produced by the rapid globalization, technological advances and international competition, have led to an increasingly flexible production processes and employment systems that have been typified by the greater use of precarious work, deprivileged by a lower wage, employment instability, limited opportunities of employability, and limited access to social security (pension, health, unemployment insurance). Employment became less secure in news media as well, with precarity being “a key characteristic of contemporary journalistic work”. Since good working conditions of journalists can influence their freedom of expression and their role as watchdogs and fourth estate, this issue also impacts the formation of public opinion.

This study aims to identify problems that Slovenian precarious journalists face due to their precarious employment situation and their involvement in (collective) bargaining for workers’ rights. To get the insights into their experiences, nine in-depth interviews were conducted with journalists, who work in precarious relations in Slovenian mass media for seven to 17 years. Content analysis of interviews shows that precarious journalists see the potential for better working condition in collective organizing and bargaining for their rights, however they have some reservations: on one hand there is the lack of trust in the power of trade unions to improve working conditions of non-standardly employed workers, on the other hand they are afraid that individual exposure in collective fight could worsen their specific situation (as reduction of tasks, consequently lower fee, cancelling the contract etc.). Consequently, numerous precarious journalists stay passive in the current situation.

Struggles of White-collar and Blue-collar Workers in the Electromechanical Sector: A Case Study of Collective Bargaining Process in Turkey

Basak Bozkurt Ozturk

Bahcesehir University, Turkey

There is a widespread assumption that labor movement is in steady decline in neoliberal ages. A plenty of debates is held about the death of the working class. On the other hand, upsurges of labor and class-based mobilizations such as workers’ strikes in India and Nigeria, teachers’ strikes in Israel, miners’ resistance in South Africa, protests of precariat in the US as well as anti-austerity strikes in Europe has shown that labor struggles have not ended. Not only blue-collar workers, but also many white-collars workers from call-center agents to engineers are subjects of these struggles. In order to understand and explain labor struggles, it is necessary to analyze attitudes of different workers and solidarities among them.

The aim of this study is to reveal differences, similarities and dynamics of solidarities in experiences/actions of white-collar and blue-collar workers. For this purpose, collective bargaining process of the 2016-2018 period between Turkish Employers’ Association of Electromechanical Industries (EMIS) and United Metal Workers’ Union (Birlesik Metal-Is) was examined. Given the fact that at the end of the negotiations, the parties did not reach an agreement, a strike vote was held. A majority of workers voted in favor of the strike action. However, the strike was adjourned by the Council of Ministers due to the state of emergency in Turkey. Blue collar workers didn’t recognize the government’s decision and went on a strike. In this study, in-depth interviews were conducted to investigate attitudes and solidarity among white collar and blue collar workers in EMIS workplaces.

Can In-work Poverty be Reduced by Investing in Occupational Welfare? Multi-level Approach on In-work Poverty in Europe

Laura Kristiina Järvi, Lauri Juhani Mäkinen

University of Turku, Finland

Since the financial crisis of 2007, in-work poverty rates have increased in almost all European Member states. The paper sets to analyse whether investments in occupational welfare (i.e. welfare that derives from the employment and is distributed by the employers) reduce in-work-poverty in Europe. Several factors, such as individual, household and institutional settings are known to be related to in-work poverty phenomenon, with welfare state measures being one of the key macro-level factors. Even though occupational welfare is likely to enhance the living standard of the employees in a more precise way than the welfare state does, the influence of occupational welfare on in-work poverty is largely unknown.

The paper approaches the in-work poverty phenomenon from a multi-level perspective, using occupational welfare expenditure, public social expenditure, collective agreement coverage and union density as macro level indicators. Using LIS data with 19 countries, the paper aims to examine whether the occupational welfare has an independent relation to in-work poverty when controlled with individual, household level and macro-level factors, and whether this relation varies between countries representing different occupational welfare systems. The paper contributes to the field of poverty and welfare research by providing valuable knowledge on the relationship between occupational welfare and in-work poverty.

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