New books


Wage formation in Europe

Emmanuel Mermet

Brussels, ETUI, 2001, 182 s. ISBN 2-930143-93-2
Bogomtale fra forlaget.

The arrival of the euro has created a new environment for collective bargaining in Europe and, in particular, new challenges for – and pressures on – wage bargaining. It has brought, for example, full transparency to wage levels in euro-zone countries and regions. Meanwhile, the inclusion of wage trends in the European policy mix has caused another change to the collective bargaining environment in that wage development, rather than remaining an isolated concern, is regarded as a pillar of the macroeconomic stability policy. Finally, wage restraint, necessary at one time to re-establish some key economic balances, seems to have become part of the conventional wisdom. These developments call for a re-examination of the role played by wages in the economy.

Taking into account also the crucial role of wages as one of the most important bases of private consumption, which in turn is the major determinant of economic growth and employment, this study presents an overall view of the situation, and of developments under way. It includes national chapters describing the situation regarding wage formation in each member state of the European Union, as well as a comparative chapter which analyses theories of wage formation, compares the empirical situation of wage formation in the EU, and proposes new paths for strengthening collective bargaining under the euro. In particular, it proposes the establishment of a form of coordination of collective bargaining amongst trade unions in response to the challenges held out to wage formation by introduction of the euro.

First part / Comparative chapter : Challenges of coordination in the euro era

I. Economics and theories of wage formation
1.1. The traditional theories of wage formation
1.2. Contemporary theories of wage formation 1.3. The composition of labour costs II. The euro: a new environment for wage bargaining (see PDF File) 2.1. Political impact of the euro: wages as a pillar of the European policy mix
2.2. The economics of EMU: convergence or divergence of wages and working conditions?
2.3. Challenges of Economic and Monetary Union for the unions: towards coordination

III. The wage situation in the European Union
3.1. Wage level discrepancies across Member States, a stable situation so far
3.2. Wage evolution in recent decades, the impact of wage moderation
3.3. Role of inflation and productivity in supporting wage increases

IV. Overview of national collective bargaining systems
4.1. Levels of bargaining on wages in European countries
4.2. Determinants of wage claims in European countries
4.3. Bargaining round schedules in Europe: a spring session?

V. Concepts underpinning the coordination of collective bargaining
5.1. From wage determinants at national level 5.2. towards a guideline for coordination at EU level 5.3. A proposal for an ETUC guideline 5.4. Data evaluation of the guideline
VI. Conclusion – Coordination: from the challenge of implementation
towards new thinking on wage formation


Second part / National chapters
Wage formation in Austria
Wage formation in Belgium
Wage formation in Denmark
Wage formation in Finland
Wage formation in France
Wage formation in Germany
Wage formation in Greece
Wage formation in Ireland
Wage formation in Italy
Wage formation in Luxembourg
Wage formation in the Netherlands
Wage formation in Norway Wage formation in Portugal Wage formation in Spain Wage formation in Sweden Wage formation in the United Kingdom ETUC Recommendation on the coordination of collective bargaining