The Emergence of Wage Coordination in the Central Western European Metal Sector and its Relationship to European Economic Policy
In the European Monetary Union the transnational coordination of collective wage bargaining has acquired increased importance on the trade union agenda. The metal sector has been at the forefront of these developments. This paper addresses the issue of crossborder coordination of wage setting in the metal sector in the central western European region, that is, in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, where coordination practices have become firmly established in comparison to other sectors. When testing the interaction of wage developments in the metal sector of these three countries, relevant macroeconomic (inflation and labour productivity) and sector-related variables (employment, export-dependence) are considered with reference to the wage policy guidelines of the European Commission and the European Metalworkers’ Federation. Empirical evidence can be found for a wage coordination effect in the form of increasing compliance with the wage policy guidelines of the European Metalworkers’ Federation. The evidence for compliance with the stability-oriented wage guideline of the European Commission is weaker.