Volume 148 (2009), Number 1-2
The global crisis, social protection and jobs
Policy responses to the global financial meltdown of 2008 and the collapse of aggregate
demand have largely been driven by domestic interests. Resurgent protectionism,
bank bail-outs and national-level stimulus packages are distorting competition and
incentives to the detriment of developing countries, much-needed spending on social
protection and, ultimately, rapid global economic recovery. Warning against underestimation
of the job-destruction potential of the current crisis, the author argues for
a truly global stimulus package, together with a rethink of economic paradigms and
regulatory policies, financial assistance to developing countries, a less constraining
IMF, and stronger social protection as an automatic stabilizer of economies.
KEYWORDS: ECONOMIC RECESSION, FINANCIAL MARKET, MONETARY POLICY, SOCIAL
PROTECTION, ECONOMIC RECOVERY, UNITED STATES.
Work more to earn more? The mixed feelings of Europeans
Lucie DAVOINE and Dominique MÉDA
Would Europeans prefer to work more or less? How do they rate the importance of
work in society? Surveys suggest that they attach great importance to work, yet a proportion
of them would like to see work take up less space in their lives. How to explain
this paradox? Three hypotheses are examined in the light of the findings of international
surveys: lower expectations in regard to work, the gap between those expectations
and disappointing labour market experience and, lastly, the wish to devote
more time to other activities. The article concludes with some policy suggestions.
KEYWORDS: WORK, EMPLOYMENT, WORK–LIFE BALANCE, WORKING CONDITIONS, JOB
SATISFACTION, WORK ATTITUDE, EU COUNTRIES.
The “externalization” of labour law
Antonio OJEDA AVILÉS
The powerful process of labour law adjustment which, for some three decades, experts
have looked upon as one of fragmentation – not to say disintegration – into evermore
disconnected subfields is turning into a general trend that looks set to take on
a structural dimension. An expansionary drive is indeed taking labour law into alien
territories, seemingly jeopardizing its identity and traditional boundaries, albeit with
a symbiotic interchange of reciprocal influences. This article analyses six avenues of
expansion which have been observed in Europe and in some American and Asian
KEYWORDS: LABOUR LAW, LABOUR LEGISLATION, COMMUNITY LAW, COMMENT, LAW
REFORM, WORKERS’ RIGHTS, LABOUR CONTRACT, ASIA, EU COUNTRIES.
Towards socially sensitive corporate restructuring? Comparative
remarks on collective bargaining developments in Germany, France
Rapidly changing markets in the context of globalization call for increasingly frequent
restructuring to sustain the competitiveness of individual firms. To meet this
need while minimizing consequent job loss, the social partners in major European
countries have devised a variety of decentralization mechanisms that enhance locallevel
flexibility without fundamentally calling into question the traditional national
models of collective bargaining. Analysing the use of “opening clauses” in German
industry agreements, France’s firm-level “derogation agreements” and mandatory
bargaining on “workforce planning”‚ and Italy’s tripartite “territorial agreements”‚
the author concludes with a plea for a supranational framework to support socially
sensitive restructuring across Europe.
KEYWORDS: COLLECTIVE BARGAINING, DECENTRALIZATION, TRADE UNION ROLE, WORKERS’
REPRESENTATION, ENTERPRISE RESTRUCTURING, FRANCE, GERMANY, ITALY.
Student labour and academic proficiency in international perspective
David POST and Suet-Ling PONG
Based on the 2003 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, the authors
find that negative associations between student employment and academic achievement
are stronger in some countries than in others – differences likely to result from
country-specific work opportunities and needs. Turning to the 2004 Educational
Longitudinal Survey of the United States for causality, they observe a curvilinear association
between employment and math proficiency: working up to ten hours per week
has a modest positive effect, 10–19 hours has no effect, and 20 hours or more has a substantial
negative effect. The possible endogeneity of work-hours is then tested with
KEYWORDS: STUDENT WORKER, SCHOOLING, SCHOOL LEAVER, EMPLOYMENT, CHILE,
INDONESIA, NETHERLANDS, PHILIPPINES, ROMANIA, SOUTH AFRICA,
TAIWAN (CHINA), UNITED STATES.
Technological change and income distribution in Europe
Cristiano PERUGINI and Fabrizio POMPEI
This article provides empirical evidence of the link between technological change
and overall income inequality in 14 EU countries. The analysis begins by testing the
skill-biased technological change (SBTC) hypothesis in sectors with different levels
of technology intensity. After confirming the skill complementarity of technology
and the predominantly skill-replacing character of investment, the analysis turns to
sectoral changes in skilled-labour demand as a possible determinant of income inequality.
It finds a non-linear relationship between SBTC and inequality in five of
the eight sectors considered, suggesting an inverted U-shaped pattern that can be
explained by stages in labour demand and supply adjustments over time.
KEYWORDS: TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE, INCOME DISTRIBUTION, LABOUR DEMAND, SKILL,
SKILLED WORKER, EU COUNTRIES.
Notes and debates
Transnational collective bargaining in Europe: The case for legislative action at EU level, by Edoardo ALES
Since the second half of the 1990s, cross-sectoral, sectoral and company-level bargaining
has developed into a key movement in transnational industrial relations in
the European Union. Originally stimulated by EU institutions, these forms of bargaining
have since progressed autonomously. At present, it is difficult to say exactly
what effect, if any, they can have on individual working conditions. Based on a 2005
report to the European Commission, this paper argues for EU legislative action to
create an optional framework for transnational collective bargaining, in the form of
a Council regulation to be adopted under the social and economic cohesion chapters
of the EU Treaty.
KEYWORDS: MULTINATIONAL BARGAINING, COMMUNITY LAW, LAW REFORM, EU
A Supreme Court challenge to Argentinas trade union model, by Adrián GOLDIN
A November 2008 ruling of the Supreme Court of Argentina has challenged the
country’s statutory system of trade union monopoly. That the “most representative”
union be granted such exclusive powers and rights as to marginalize others within
the same industry was found to be inconsistent both with the principle of “free and
democratic trade union organization” enshrined in the Constitution and with the
position of the ILO’s supervisory bodies. Recognizing the constitutional status of
the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize Convention,
1948 (No. 87), the Court rejected legislated union unity in favour of unity freely
chosen by unionized workers.
KEYWORDS: FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION, TRADE UNION, JUDICIAL DECISION, SUPREME
Core labour standards under the Administration of George W. Bush, by Christopher CANDLAND
Outside of the International Labour Organization, the United States uses two main
channels to promote labour standards internationally: bilateral or regional trade
agreements and “labour diplomacy”. Examining developments in these areas
between 2001 and 2008, the author argues that the Bush Administration weakened
the United States’ capacity to uphold internationally recognized core labour standards.
Although it concluded an unprecedented number of free trade agreements,
their labour clauses are largely devoid of meaningful enforcement mechanisms –
suggesting a closer connection with general foreign policy objectives than with concern
for workers’ rights. Furthermore, the work of the Federal Advisory Committee
on Labor Diplomacy was eventually suspended.
KEYWORDS: INTERNATIONAL LABOUR STANDARDS, ILO CONVENTION, APPLICATION,
WORKERS’ RIGHTS, TRADE UNION RIGHTS, TRADE AGREEMENT, DIPLOMACY, POLITICAL
POWER, ROLE OF UNITED STATES, TREND, DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, UNITED STATES.
Labour statistics: The boundaries and diversity of work, by Patrick BOLLÉ
The 18th International Conference of Labour Statisticians was convened at the end
of 2008. Its agenda featured, inter alia, the measurement of working time, child
labour, decent work, labour underutilization and volunteer work. Here, the author
reports on conceptual and definitional innovations in these areas, especially in
regard to the boundaries of the concept of work. One such innovation – particularly
useful for the measurement of working time and child labour – is a move to take
account of domestic work and volunteer work for households.
KEYWORDS: LABOUR STATISTICS, DATA COLLECTION, MEASUREMENT, HOURS OF WORK,
CHILD LABOUR, DECENT WORK, UNDEREMPLOYMENT, UNPAID WORK.
Documents and communications
General Assembly resolution on the ILO Declaration on Social Justice
for a Fair Globalization
Call for papers with a view to publication of a special issue of the International Labour Review tentatively entitled After the Washington Consensus: What next?
Growing unequal? Income distribution and poverty in OECD countries,
by OECD. Reviewed by Hedva SARFATI
La gestion des ressources humaines en France. Histoire critique,
by Henri PINAUD. Reviewed by Jacques MONAT
Libertés et droits fondamentaux des travailleurs en Chine,
by Aiqing ZHENG (with prefaces by Mireille Delmas-Marty
and Jean-Maurice Verdier). Reviewed by François GAUDU
The accelerating decline in America’s high-skilled workforce:
Implications for immigration policy, by Jacob Funk KIRKEGAARD
A future of good jobs? America’s challenge in the global economy,
edited by Timothy J. BARTIK and Susan N. HOUSEMAN. Reviewed by Hedva SARFATI.