ILERA Conference 2019 – Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf

Screenshot 2019-09-30 at 09.27.52The final conference attended by the project team was the International Industrial Relations Association (ILERA European Congress 2019) hosted at Heinrich Heine Universität Düsseldorf. The theme of the conference was “Perspectives of Employment Relations in Europe”, with Aarron Toal and Bernd Brandl delivering the final presentation, building upon what was presented previously in Bielefeld and Manchester.

Just one of the many preliminary findings presented was on the levels on influence employer organisations have on operational aspects (i.e. how the confederation is managed) of any European employer confederation and vice-versa. As similar to the IREC conference, the findings were presented to show the direction of influence between national employer organisations and European confederations.

We were able to observe that apart from German organisations who seem to have a strong influence, the majority of employer organisations observed have a moderate influence on operational aspects of EU confederations, but the direction of influence from EU confederations to the national level is very weak, allowing us to preliminary conclude that EU employers confederations are not influencing national policy in terms of operations aspects. These findings were more or less similar when it came to trade union influence on operational aspects at the EU level and vice versa, where we again observed lower influence on operational aspects than strategic decision making, where overall influence in both directions is lower.

It was a great pleasure to bring the ENTIRE View conference season road trip to an end in Düsseldorf, and we look forward to building upon the preliminary findings presented at all three conferences over the coming months.

20190906_090408.jpgPictured: Aarron Toal

IREC Conference 2019 – Bielefeld University

logoThe project team took the ENTIRE View project to the Industrial Relations in Europe Conference (IREC) at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research at Bielefeld University in September 2019. The theme of the conference was “Transnational Labour Markets and Industrial Relations” organised by Rebecca Gumbrell-McCormick of the University of London.

Aarron Toal, Bernd Brandl and Barbara Bechter represented the ENTIRE View project team. Aarron and Bernd gave an expanded presentation of the one delivered at the ESA conference in Manchester a few weeks prior. Titled “Visible and Invisible Hands in the Transnational Wage Setting in Europe” preliminary results were presented and discussed into national trade unions and employer organisations influence to EU confederations and vice-versa, that is the influence of EU confederations on national trade unions and employer organisations.

A key discussion took place on the levels of involvement trade union confederations have in strategic decision making of any European confederation and vice-versa. The findings were presented to show the direction of influence between national trade unions and European confederations. We were able to observe that nearly all national TUs have a moderate influence when it comes to influencing EU confederations (especially Germany who have a strong influence) but the direction from EU confederations to the national level is rather weak. These findings were more or less replicated when it came to employer organisation influence as well, showing strong intent and influence when it comes to labour and business. On average however, EU confederations have less influence.

It was a pleasure to discuss these findings in what wasa rather small conference, but did allow for interdisciplinary researchers to discuss the project in more detail. We thank Rebecca and those at ZIF (the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research at Bielefeld University) for hosting us.

FOUR IMG_0382Pictured: Aarron Toal (L) and Barbara Bechter (R)
For Blog 2 IMG_0385Pictured: Bernd Brandl (L) and Aarron Toal (R)

ESA Manchester 2019 – Conference Presentation

esa_logo2The 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.

For web 20190821_112235Pictured: Aarron Toal delivering the presentation at ESA Manchester 2019

Data collection meeting

The third scheduled meeting of the ENTIRE view project was held at the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA)/Instytut Spraw Publiccznych in Warsaw, Poland on Friday 19 October 2018. Hosted by Dominik Owczarek and the IPA, joining him were Barbara Bechter and Aarron Toal from Durham University Business School, Alex Lehr from Radboud University, Oscar Molina from Autonomous University of Barcelona, and Jan Czarzasty with Malgorzata Koziarek also from the IPA.

The purpose of this meeting was to discuss and finalise the data collection methods to be used in this research project. Feedback was presented on the current status and design of the two main surveys that are to be distributed, with the discussion focused on streamlining the questions to obtain insights that are critical to the aims and objectives of the project, whilst ensuring quality control and a positive user experience.

The primary data collection methods were discussed extensively by all given the ambitious scope to ensure good, quality responses are obtained. This included understanding the purpose of each collection method, identifying data already available and achieving valuable responses by streamlining the surveys whilst agreeing on the selection criteria of participants. An overview of the upcoming activities was identified and agreed upon to highlight the different stages of the data collection over the coming months which includes the finalisation and distribution of surveys, completion of the interview guide and case studies.

With valuable feedback obtained from this meeting, the implementation of the data collection methods will commence soon to investigate industrial relations and wage developments within European member states.

Warsaw 1L-R: Alex Lehr, Aarron Toal, Oscar Molina, Barbara Bechter, Malgorzata Koziarek, Jan Czarzasty and Dominik Owczarek

Methodology meeting

The second meeting took place at Durham University Business School from 02 to 03 July 2018, where the full team of researchers and collaborators were confirmed. Hosted once again by Bernd Brandl alongside Barbara Bechter, returning to Durham were Alex Lehr and Oscar Molina. Christine Aumayr-Pintar from Eurofound, Jan Czarzasty of the Institute of Public Affairs/University of Warsaw, Bengt Larsson of the University of Gothenburg, Paul Ramskogler of Oesterreichische Nationalbank, Aarron Toal as the newly appointed Research Assistant at Durham and Ylva Ulfsdotter Eriksson of the University of Gothenburg were also in attendance, with the purpose of the two day meeting to discuss and confirm the research methodology.

Bernd reiterated the challenging nature of this research effort but recognised the experience of the attendees; working collaboratively would ensure a sound methodology to allow the aims of the project to be achieved. The project therefore aims to explain wage developments in all EU member states and analyse the role of economic and industrial relations system factors whilst identifying any patterns emerging from the data. Once an overview of wage developments has been created, we can then start to investigate if they can be influenced or governed. Combining the use of existing secondary data with an ambitious primary data collection method involving multiple questionnaires will allow for a complete analysis of current industrial relations and wage developments within EU member states.


Pictured: Bernd Brandl, Oscar Molina, Aarron Toal, Jan Czarzasty, Bengt Larsson, Alex Lehr, Barbara Bechter, Christine Aumayr-Pintar, Ylva Ulfsdotter Eriksson and Paul Ramskogler