Reframing industrial relations

October 09, 2014
Author: Abigail Goundry

Europe is experiencing its worst financial crisis in decades with differences in overall economic performance being reflected in labour market and employment indicators. In addition, the intensification of competition has triggered companies to undertake cost-reduction strategies, which translate in most cases intopressure on working conditions and wages for workers. Over the past years, we have slowly seen the erosion of the classical employer-employee relationship (represented by employers’ associations and trade unions respectively) to a complex system involving three or more parties including temporary workers agencies, workers and companies. This situation has led to an increase in the number of people living and working under precarious conditions.

These groups, like migrant workers and young people, often face conditions of unequal treatment, indecent work, limited access to social protection, and insufficient representation in and by the traditional employer-employee relationship. How can we make sure that young workers do not become a lost generation? How can we support migrant workers in making their voices heard? How can we guarantee the working poor quality employment and a decent life? This booklet brings together evidence of the indecent employment conditions workers face in different EU countries in three different groups – young people, migrant and low-wage workers. In order to guarantee the full implementation of employment legislation, ensure a legal control mechanism for the promotion of labour rights and guarantee the representation of workers at all levels, concrete recommendations are put forward to EU decision makers, social partners and national governments.

Creating an inclusive labour market and effective industrial relations are a necessity in order to make decent work a reality for all.