Work Inequalities in the Crisis: Evidence from Europe

This book provides an in-depth overview of the effects of the crisis on inequalities in the world of work. It examines these inequalities multi-dimensionally, looking at employment, wages and incomes, working conditions and social dialogue.

"Since the successive crises erupted, the increase in inequality has not been addressed. This important publication offers a comprehensive overview of recent developments in the workplace. It will help to promote a different policy agenda that is desperately needed to overcome the causes and consequences of the crisis, namely addressing work inequalities."
–Philippe Pochet, Catholic University of Louvain la Neuve, Belgium, and General Director of the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI), Brussels, Belgium

Work Inequalities in the Crisis: Evidence from Europe

“Who are the losers and the occasional winners in the current economic crisis? How have employers responded to the slump in economic growth? What lessons can be learned both from their and from government labour policies? Daniel Vaughan-Whitehead and a team of leading researchers address these questions, applying the latest data and research, with company case studies from across Europe, including Turkey and the transition economies. They observe some similarities, but also enormous differences. They find novel answers as the policies developed over the past two decades, to foster greater flexibility, have altered the way firms respond to market changes. Are all these changes socially desirable? The authors are to be congratulated for providing such a detailed panorama and frank assessment which will be of value to both academic and policy readers.”

-David Marsden, London School of Economics, UK

Work inequalities in the crisis provides an in-depth overview of the effects of the crisis on inequalities in the world of work. It examines these inequalities multi-dimensionally, looking at employment, wages and incomes, working conditions and social dialogue. At the same time, it investigates whether the crisis may halt the progress made in Europe towards better quality jobs and working conditions.

This book offers a unique combination of in-depth research, case studies and policy discussions. Following an assessment of national trends in 30 European countries, 14 country case studies by noted European specialists report on individual enterprises or sectors as well as policy solutions adopted at the national and local levels.

By providing an accessible survey of the policies proposed and adopted, this volume contributes to identifying policy responses that strengthen economic competitiveness, preserve social cohesion, and do not aggravate or deepen inequalities in the current circumstances. It also sheds light a further aspect of the crisis that has remained poorly documented thus far, namely its microeconomic effects on different types of workers and the areas of work that directly matter to them. This timely collection is of particular interest to academics, students and researchers in labour economics, to policy-makers, and to those involved in European studies more generally.

About the author

Daniel Vaughan-Whitehead is Senior Adviser, Responsible for Wage Policies, at the International Labour Office, Geneva, Switzerland, and Professor at Sciences Po, Paris, France.

Table of contents

List of contributors

Foreword by Maria Helena Andre

Foreword by Nicolas Schmit

Foreword by Guy Ryder

1. Introduction: Has the crisis exacerbated work inequalities?

Daniel Vaughan-Whitehead

2. Mixed adjustment forms and inequality effects in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania

Jaan Masso and Kerly Krillo

3. Inequality at work emerging in the current crisis in Bulgaria

Vasil Tzanov

4. Croatia: Prolonged crisis with an uncertain ending

Vojmir Franičević

5. France: Protecting the insiders in the crisis and forgetting the outsiders?

Jerome Gautie

6. The German labour market after the financial crisis: Miracle or just a good policy mix?

Gerhard Bosch

7. Hungary: Crisis coupled with a fiscal squeeze – effects on inequality

Janos Köllő

8. Italy: Limited policy responses and industrial relations in flux, leading to aggravated inequalities

Niall O’Higgins

9. The Netherlands: Is the impact of the financial crisis on inequalities different from in the past?

Wiemer Salverda

10. From the highest employment growth to the deepest fall: Economic crisis and labour inequalities in Spain

Rafael Munoz de Bustillo Llorente and Jose- Ignacio Anton Perez

11. Negotiated flexibility in Sweden: A more egalitarian response to the crisis?

Dominique Anxo

12. Crisis in Turkey: Aggravating a segmented labour market and creating new inequalities

Seyhan Erdoğdu

13. Social impact of the crisis in the United Kingdom: Focus on gender and age inequalities

Damian Grimshaw and Anthony Rafferty