Workplace Representation in Europe

| Publication date: 30 Apr 2012 | Theme: Employment & Social policy | NIESR Author(s): Bryson, A; Forth, J | JEL Classification: J51; J53; J83 | Report to: Eurofound

We use the European Company Survey 2009 (ECS 2009) to investigate the prevalence and nature of trade union representation and works council representation across the European Union and its candidate countries. We confirm the results of existing single-country studies in finding that workplace employee representation is more likely in larger workplaces and organisations, in the public sector, and in workplaces which have recently undergone organizational change. We also confirm that union representation is more likely in industry sectors where there are rents to share. However we go further in showing the importance of country-level factors, including the prevailing legislative framework and the degree of centralization of collective bargaining. Finally, we also provide tentative evidence of the benefits of workplace representation in providing a channel for employees' discontent, which reduces quits.

Keyword tags: 
trade unions, works councils, employee representation, social dialogue
Publication type: 

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