Central and Eastern European industrial relations in the crisis: national divergence and path-dependent change

03  June 2013    5:00 pm

Thomas Wieser, President of the Euro Working Group


wiiw, Rahlgasse 3, 1060 Vienna, lecture hall (entrance from the ground floor)


This presentation provides an overview of the effects of the recent economic crisis on industrial relations in the Central and Eastern European (CEE) EU Member States, based on a recent article published in Transfer: European Review of Labour Research (2/2013). The analysis is based on the theoretical framework of three types of CEE capitalisms, i.e. the neoliberal, embedded neoliberal and neocorporatist type (Bohle and Greskovits, 2012). The speaker will argue that the impact of the crisis on processes and institutions of collective bargaining is shaped by economic and political factors and, above all, the institutional setting of industrial relations. The trade unions‘ responses are explained by the varying use of two strategic sources of power, i.e. participating in formal collective bargaining or strengthening the membership base. Despite considerable variation between countries with regard to these factors, recent developments in collective bargaining tended to be path-dependent and resulted in a further shift of the industrial relations in the CEE region towards neoliberalism.