Towards a Europeanization of Wage Bargaining? Evidence from the Metal Sector
European Journal of Industrial Relations,
European trade unions have attempted to coordinate their bargaining strategies transnationally in order to counter downward pressures on wages. Such coordination is most feasible in broadly integrated and exposed sectors that have to face common competitive constraints on wages. This article investigates collectively negotiated wage increases in the metal sector in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. We assume a specific logic of transnational pattern bargaining, with Germany as the ‘anchor’ country. We investigate the emergence of a transnational wage coordination effect before and after institutions for the coordination of wage bargaining were established. Finally, we draw conclusions on prospects for wage bargaining coordination with further integration of Economic and Monetary Union.
A Macroeconomist’s View on EU Governance Reform: Why and How to Establish Policy Coordination?
This paper discusses the need for macroeconomic policy coordination in the E(M)U. Coordination of national policies with cross-border effects does not exist at the macroeconomic level, although requested by the EU Treaty. The need for coordination stems from current account imbalances, which origin in market-induced capital flows, destabilizing the real exchange rates between low and high wage countries. The recent attempts of the Commission and the European Council to reform E(M)U governance do not address this problem and thus remain incapable to protect against future instability.
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.