What about the workers. Forty years of labour consultancy in Europe
What about the workers?
Forty years of labour consultancy in Europe.
2020 – This book about labour consultancy is written by members of EESUN. This network has published the book. The European Employee SUpport Network has been established in 1996 and is a network of small and independent consultancy firms and labour research institutes across Europe.
Central message and starting point
The central message of the book is: common sets of analytical and process tools are available that can be used to bring about sustainable work organisations and decent jobs. Where necessary and possible, the book includes cases to illustrate this.
The authors take as starting point that the creation of innovative, sustainable and inclusive organisations can have competitive advantage. This can be realised through socio-technical system design, social dialogue and the involvement of employee representatives in decision making.
Organisation of the book
The book focuses in particular on industrial relations and developments in five European countries: the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France, Sweden and Germany.
Chapter 1 outlines the social background in Europe: changes and industrial relations.
Chapter 2 deals with globalisation and the restructuring processes within and between companies. Itdiscusses options for trade unions and workers’ representatives – in particular for the European Works Councils – to organise opposition in this process.
The public sector is highlighted in Chapter 3. This discusses the effects of New Public Management, deregulation and privatisation on the quality of public services and on the workers in that sector, in the five countries. Social dialogue in this sector should have returned for a long time.
Chapter 4 deals with the changing labour market. Examples from companies show what the positive consequences can be if subjects such as employability, competence development and relocation policy, are put at the center of social dialogue.
Mastering the demographic challenge is the subject of Chapter 5. The authors argue that improving working conditions as well as social conditions can make an organisation ‘age-proof’.
Chapter 6 concerns the intensification of labour in the services sector. The tension between participation and control is described. With practical examples, the authors show what the alternatives are for organising according to management concepts such as BPR, Lean and Agile.
Chapter 7 deals with new problems such as work related stress and risk assessment. Examples from the five countries of psychosocial risk management are presented.
Chapter 8 outlines the socio-economic profiles of the five countries. In particular, the regulation of employee representation and working conditions is discussed as a framework for the national markets for “labour consultancy".
In Chapter 9, based on the practical experience of the authors and the cases described, a synthesis of good practices is made that contributes to reconciling management and labor interests in change processes.
The content of the book was already fixed when – just before publication –
the corona pandemic broke out in early 2020, with major consequences not only
for the lifes and health of the world population but also for the economies of
almost all countries. In the postscript, the authors reflect on the possible
consequences of the pandemic on the topics discussed in the book.
Klaveren, van Maarten; Denis Gregory, Aslaug Johansen, Per Tengblad, Robert Schleicher. ‘What about the workers? Forty years of labour consultancy in Europe.’ May 1, 2020, Amsterdam, Oxford, Paris, Stockholm, Bochum: European Employee Support Network (EESUN).
The book can be downloaded via:
Theme’s: Labour relations, Co-determination, sustainable employment