The 14th Conference of the European Sociological Association took place in Manchester in August 2019. Representing the ENTIRE View project were Aarron Toal, Professor Bernd Brandl and Dr Barbara Bechter who attended the session: RN17_01a: European Social Dialogue to present preliminary descriptive findings with the title: Visible and Invisible Hands in the Transnational Wage Setting in Europe.
Aarron introduced the scope and aims of the project, highlighting the complexities of trying to analyse such a ‘chaotic’ picture of information influence and observation of actors embedded in trade union confederations and employers organisations when it comes to the development of wages within EU member states, as very different actors are embedded in very different environments (country, sector, companies) but they are all determining wages.
The findings were presented in three themes: the direction and level of influence between national trade unions/employers organisations and European confederations regarding aspects including in the strategic decision making and operational aspects (e.g. managerial), the importance of agreements importance of agreements between EU confederations (TU and EO) for wage determination and policies for equal pay for equal work and how this has changed over time.
One key discussion centred on the importance of agreements between European/transnational trade union confederations and employers confederations for wage determination for the trade union confederation and for the employer confederation/organisation. We were able to present results that show there is an influence. As wage determination is formally excluded from the EU social dialogue, we do find a moderate influence, especially in continental EU countries which is in line with our previous findings that trade unions and EU are influencing each other in various aspects of wage formation.