Over the last two decades employment and labour relations in Europe have undergone important changes. Manufacturing employment is decreasing and various types of service employment are rising, together with female participation levels. The standard employment relationship is losing its dominant position with the growing use of flexible and part-time contracts, temporary agency work and (dependent) self-employment. Segmentation between stronger and weaker groups is increasing. Social solidarity is under pressure in many countries as a consequence of the increasing diversity of populations and of the labour force. Collective bargaining is decentralizing but there are also attempts to transnationalise bargaining within multinationals or within certain sectors. Trade unions are slowly losing membership and power but worker involvement in social innovation is wanted more than ever. The role of the EU is getting more important and new forms of governance are being experimented with. Change is accelerating as a result of the crisis and austerity is leading to profound restructuring of the public sector, affecting employment conditions and service provision.
Within this context, we want to foster a reflection and debate on the future of employment relations and new forms of solidarity. Such question include: What can or should employment relations look like in the future? What is the future of the public sector? Can or should growing segmentation and polarization be countered? What new types of governance support collaborative efforts to tackle today’s collective problems? What new types of solidarity can we foresee between group of workers or workers in different countries? What new types of cooperation or conflict can we foresee between workers and employers?
The programme will be organized around 5 track themes (click here for the full description of the tracks):
Track 1: Industrial relations actors in a changing labour market
Track 2: Europeanisation of social and employment policies
Track 3: Public sector restructuring: consequences for employment relations and public services
Track 4: New forms of regulation and governance
Track 5: HRM and Social Innovation