Production, work and industrial relations

Theme N°: 

The production systems of the automobile industry have traditionally been dependent on the industrial relations systems in operation which have, in turn, been linked to those of the societies from which they have emerged. These relations have determined both production conditions and the market opportunities for manufacturers to sell their vehicles but the previous equilibrium may have been undermined by the restructuring of the value chain and new production geographies. The growth of both emerging markets and new forms of motorization mean that issues of industrial relations in the automobile industry in different regions of the world merit further research.

Furthermore, after the financial crisis, at least in Europe and some other regions, the specific role of states and the relation between regulation by markets, by organisations, by public regulation regimes and other institutions is reconsidered by many collective actors. The more 'coordinated market economies' showed up as more successful in adapting to the new conditions than the very open 'liberal market economies'. Some countries managed to combine high employment stability with high working time flexibility in order to accommodate to economic crisis.

These experiences invite to re-evaluate the role and weight of labour regulation:
- How did collective and corporate actors (unions, works or enterprise councils, shop stewards, employer associations, companies, states) react to the challenges of financial and economic crisis after 2008?
- What is the role of the new EU-member states concerning labour regulation: are they recovering wage levels and is there a homogenisation of employment conditions or are they specialising in low wages and precarious jobs?
- Which is the role of the European level of regulation, like the European Unions and Employer Associations and the European Works Councils? How are the Social Dialogue and labour regulation concepts like 'flexicurity' developing?
- Which are the most striking tendencies of labour regulation in the BRICs and other emerging car producing countries?

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