Friday, 21 September 2012

Towards a European labour market? Trade unions and flexicurity in France and Britain

an article by Susan Milner (University of Bath) published in European Journal of Industrial Relations Volume 18 Number 3 (September 2012)


The flexicurity approach to labour market policy may offer advantages for trade unions but also poses challenges, given their weak situation in policy formulation at EU level and in many member states.

This article explores unions’ capacity to mobilise around flexicurity issues and to influence policy debates and outcomes in two member states.

In the UK, flexicurity has low political salience and unions have little capacity for mobilisation or influence, although they have linked flexicurity to campaigns on agency workers and restructuring.

In France, unions have developed alternative proposals on making employment pathways secure and have succeeded in shifting debate towards these proposals rather than the Commission’s flexicurity recommendations, although differences with the positions of employers and the state have limited outcomes to date.

EU policies provide only weak leverage, since trade unions’ ability to influence labour market policy depends on their position within domestic institutions.

Related post
Flexicurity under the spotlight

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