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Frontal assault versus incremental change: A comparison of collective bargaining in Portugal and the Netherlands

Author

Listed:
  • Hijzen Alexander

    (OECD and IZA. Paris, France)

  • Martins Pedro S.

    (Queen Mary University of London, NovaSBE and IZA. London, England)

  • Parlevliet Jante

    (De Nederlandsche Bank and University of Amsterdam. AmsterdamNetherlands)

Abstract

Collective bargaining has come under renewed scrutiny, especially in Southern European countries, which rely predominantly on sectoral bargaining supported by administrative extensions of collective agreements. Following the global financial crisis, some of these countries have implemented substantial reforms in the context of adjustment programmes, seen by some as a ‘frontal assault’ on collective bargaining. This paper compares the recent top-down reforms in Portugal with the more gradual evolution of the system in the Netherlands. While the Dutch bargaining system shares many of the key features that characterise the Portuguese system, it has shown a much greater ability to adjust to new challenges through concerted social dialogue. This paper shows that the recent reforms in Portugal have brought the system more in line with Dutch practices, including in relation to the degree of flexibility in sectoral collective agreements at the worker and firm levels, the criteria for administrative extensions, and the application of retro- and ultra-activity. However, it remains to be seen to what extent the top-down approach taken in Portugal will change bargaining practices, and importantly, the quality of industrial relations.

Suggested Citation

  • Hijzen Alexander & Martins Pedro S. & Parlevliet Jante, 2019. "Frontal assault versus incremental change: A comparison of collective bargaining in Portugal and the Netherlands," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Sciendo & Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 9(1), pages 1-26, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:vrs:izajlp:v:9:y:2019:i:1:p:26:n:8
    DOI: 10.2478/izajolp-2019-0008
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Marta Martínez Matute & Pedro S. Martins, 2022. "How representative are social partners in Europe? The role of dissimilarity," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 36(4), pages 424-444, December.
    2. Pedro S. Martins, 2021. "30,000 Minimum Wages: The Economic Effects of Collective Bargaining Extensions," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 59(2), pages 335-369, June.
    3. Hijzen Alexander & Martins Pedro S., 2020. "No extension without representation? Evidence from a natural experiment in collective bargaining," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Sciendo & Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 9(1), pages 1-31, March.
    4. Martins, Pedro S. & Saraiva, Joana, 2020. "Assessing the legal value added of collective bargaining agreements," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(C).
    5. Francesco Caloia & Jante Parlevliet & Mauro Mastrogiacomo, 2021. "Staggered wages, unanticipated shocks and firms’ adjustments," Working Papers 711, DNB.
    6. Cardullo, Gabriele & Conti, Maurizio & Sulis, Giovanni, 2020. "A model of unions, two-tier bargaining and capital investment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(C).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    collective bargaining; bargaining coverage/structure/coordination; trust; comparative economic systems;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining
    • P5 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems

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