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Foundations and Perspectives of Trade Union Wage Policy in Europe

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  • Schulten, Thorsten
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    Considering the degree of political and economic integration in Europe, trade unions can no longer stick to purely national strategies. Since the 1980s the key political projects of European integration have played a major role to force the neoliberal reorganisation of European capitalism (Bieling and Steinhilber 2000). Especially the introduction of the European Monetary Union has turned out to be an important political catalyst, which put the need for a Europeanisation of wage policy and collective bargaining on the trade unions? agenda. A number of trade union initiatives have meanwhile developed, aiming at European coordination of wage policy. The first goal of these initiatives is to lay down a set of shared ground rules and objectives for national wage policy, which are supposed to prevent competitive underbidding of labour costs and wage dumping. Although the majority of these initiatives are still on their initial stages one can already identify several points of contention and impediments to full success, which might obstruct effective collective bargaining coordination. The experience hitherto indicates that it will not be enough to establish collective bargaining coordination as a mere technocratic procedure. The trade unions need an overarching political project instead, which will amount to nothing less than striving for a reconstruction of solidaristic wage policy in Europe.

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    Paper provided by The Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI), Hans-Böckler-Foundation in its series WSI Working Papers with number 129.

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    Date of creation: 2004
    Handle: RePEc:zbw:wsidps:129
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    1. Eckhard Hein & Thorsten Schulten & Achim Truger, 2004. "Wage trends and deflation risks in Germany and Europe," Macroeconomics 0412008, EconWPA.
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