Revamp collective bargaining to prevent rising labour market inequalities in rapidly changing world of work

ES-POR_web_1

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with OECD.


Collective bargaining and worker’s voice are key labour rights but can also improve labour market performances, according to new OECD findings. Yet both these rights are under pressure from the general weakening of labour relations in many countries and the rise of new and often precarious forms of employment, according to a new OECD report.

Negotiating Our Way Up: Collective bargaining in a changing world of work says that the share of workers who are union members has fallen sharply across OECD countries, from almost 30% on average in 1985 to 16% in 2018. Membership is even lower among workers in non-standard jobs, such as people on fixed-terms contracts, temporary workers, or own-account workers, who are 50% less likely than workers in open-ended contracts to be unionised.

The share of workers covered by a collective agreement has also shrunk from 46% on average in the OECD in 1985 to 32% today. However, collective bargaining is essential to help workers and companies adapt to changes in the labour market and ensure an inclusive and prosperous world of work, says the report. And new trends affecting the world of work, such as the fragmentation of production processes, and the gig economy should give social partners a chance to revitalise collective representation and actions.

“The world of work is in flux,” said Stefano Scarpetta, OECD Director of Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, at the launch of the report in Berlin. “More than ever collective bargaining, when based on mutual trust between social partners and designed so as to strike a balance between inclusiveness and flexibility, can help companies and workers respond to demographic and technological change and adapt to the new world of work.”
“The OECD report is both a confirmation and a spur for action,” said Björn Böhning, State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. “In many points, it confirms our awareness of how much German collective bargaining is under pressure, and how great the political need for action is. Furthermore, the report is an incentive for us to implement concrete measures swiftly, in order to strengthen collective bargaining. With our proposals for collective bargaining and for the expansion of corporate co-determination, the ministry wants to contribute to raising the significance of social partnership once again. Even in the new and changing world of work – for example in the platform economy – we stick to this mantra: “We want fair competitive conditions, good work and social security for all.”

In that regard, having in place mechanisms of wage co-ordination, allowing social partners negotiating for different groups of workers to establish a common bargaining strategy and to follow common wage targets is key. This helps ensure that unions and employers take into account the business-cycle situation and the macroeconomic effects of wage agreements on competitiveness. Wage co-ordination is quite strong in countries such as Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and partly Germany and Japan.

The report also highlights that the best outcomes in terms of employment, productivity and wages seem to be reached when sectoral agreements set broad conditions but leave detailed provisions to firm-level negotiations. This is the case in countries such as Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

Looking ahead, making the most of collective bargaining in the future world of work will require some governmental intervention, notably to provide access to collective bargaining rights beyond standard employment. Enforcing the correct classification of workers and fighting the misclassification of workers as self-employed when they are actually in a situation comparable to that of employees is an essential first step. But even with proper classification, a potentially growing number of workers will be in the grey zone between dependent employment and self-employment, and labour and competition regulations also need to be adapted to ensure that these workers have access to collective bargaining rights.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Climate change and health: public health awareness in an international framework

The Bavarians threaten Berlin and Brussels with immigration crisis

Here’s how the EU is doing on gender equality

Zuckerberg, a paella, and the mighty EU questionnaires that would stop Whatsapp acquisition by Facebook?

State aid: Commission invites comments on State aid rules for the deployment of broadband networks

COP21 Breaking News_09 December: The Draft Agreement Updated

The global appetite for meat is growing, and it’s harming the planet

‘Answer the call of Afghans’ to reduce impact of conflict, UN urges all parties amid increase in civilian airstrike deaths

Chart of the day: This is what violence does to a nation’s GDP

TTIP wins Merkel’s endorsement ahead of 2016 tough deadline

This Chinese tech giant’s latest gadget is… a bus

Can the banking union help Eurozone counter its imminent threats?

Dutch voters reject EU-Ukraine partnership and open a new pandora’s box for the EU

Easing fears and promoting gender equality in Chad’s girls-only classrooms

DR Congo: Electoral process advancing despite threat of armed groups, UN envoy tells Security Council

May a parody constitute a copyright infringement? European Court of Justice to give the answer

As COP25 goes into the night, Guterres calls for more climate ambition

Heart attacks and strokes are more common on high pollution days, data shows

Crowdfunding: what it is and what it may become

Canada grants asylum for Saudi teen who fled family: UNHCR

World cannot be transformed without ‘ingenuity of the countries of the South’: UN Chief

We are ‘burning up our future’, UN’s Bachelet tells Human Rights Council

Twenty days that may remold the future of Europe

Greece and Ukraine main items on EU28 menu; the course is set

Seaweed, enzymes and compostable cups: Can ‘Big Food’ take on plastic and win?

Carnage must stop in northwest Syria demands Lowcock, as attacks intensify

Greater transparency, fairer prices for medicines ‘a global human rights issue’, says UN health agency

How Africa and Asia are joining forces on universal healthcare

Ebola in DR Congo: New transmission chain risks reversing major gains

CHALLENGING THE ZEITGEIST OF DIGITAL – Change making projects innovate mobile support for refugees, inclusive environments, early breast cancer detection and more

Family-friendly policies benefit all of us. Here are 4 ways to boost them

End discrimination against women and children affected by leprosy

Walk, cycle, dance and play – UN health agency recommends new action plan for good health

UN and Red Cross chiefs appeal for end to use of explosive weapons in cities

Air quality: Commission takes action to protect citizens from air pollution

This man is installing 100 trash barriers in Bali’s rivers to stop plastic pollution

UN chief ‘deeply saddened’ by Ethiopia plane crash which killed 157, including at least 21 UN workers

Boom in Artificial Intelligence patents, points to ‘quantum leap’ in tech: UN report

This robot has soft hands. It could be the future of sustainable production

The space internet race is dawning. Here’s what to expect

How has policy affected employment in small businesses in the US?

COVID-19: More new virus cases outside China than in, ‘no time for complacency’, says UN health agency

A machine din

Computer skills are crucial for children – in lockdown and in life

Stop illegal trade in cats and dogs, say MEPs

As Houthi forces withdraw from key Yemeni ports, UN monitoring chief welcomes ‘first practical step on the ground’

‘Repeated attacks’ could close down key hospital in eastern Libya, says WHO

The horrific trend of the anti-vaccine movement in Turkey

European Youth Capital 2018 : Cascais

EU economic governance: More exploitation for the weaker countries

Global South cooperation ‘vital’ to climate change fight, development, Guterres tells historic Buenos Aires summit

G20 LIVE: “International communities and leaders have great expectations for 2016 G20 summit in Hangzhou China”, Mr Wang Xiaolong, the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s special envoy stresses live from G20 in Antalya Turkey

Climate change is destroying a barrier that protects the US from hurricanes

COVID-19: Commission launches European team of scientific experts to strengthen EU coordination and medical response

ISIS fighters fleeing Mosul for Syria can topple Assad. Why did the US now decide to uproot them from Iraq?

The secret to Bangladesh’s economic success? The Sheikh Hasina factor

Evidence shows ‘brutal’ killing of Saudi journalist ‘planned and perpetrated’ by State officials: UN independent expert

Madagascar: UN Secretary-General reaffirms support for electoral process

MEPs cap prices of calls within EU and approve emergency alert system

COVID-19: ‘Top priority’ must be on containment, insists WHO’s Tedros

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s