The transnational dimension to collective bargaining in a European context

The transnational dimension to collective bargaining in a European context
Document type
Marginson, Paul
Warwick Business School
Date of publication
1 June 2008
Industrial Relations Research Centre Conference Papers
People management: all aspects of managing people
Business and management
Material type

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The internationalisation of economic activity is embracing ever more national economies as rapid industrialisation proceeds amongst the emergent economies of east and south Asia, eastern Europe and Latin America. The process is being driven forward by the emergence of global supply chains in a growing number of sectors, reaching into services as well as manufacturing, in which the division of labour between operations in different parts of the international economy is continually under review according to the imperatives of cost, flexibility and productivity. Organised by multinational companies (MNCs), the resultant regime competition between labour market and industrial relations regimes within these global supply chains has a local as well as a national dimension. In addition to considerations of costs, flexibilities, skills provision, productivity and labour standards as shaped by national institutions and regulations, the performance of individual sites and the localities in which they are situated is under continuous scrutiny. The social and industrial relations consequences of these internationalised economic dynamics increasingly calls for cross-border, coordinated responses and initiatives by trade unions, and other institutions of employee representation, at transnational sector and company levels. These include the emergence of forms of transnational collective bargaining.

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