ITUC Frontlines Report: Collective Bargaining

Organization(s): ITUC
Year: 2013
PDF of Resource

Five years since the “great recession” started, the failed policy of austerity has left a legacy of extreme levels of unemployment, rising inequality, the marginalisation of a generation of young people and the desperation of a growing informal sector where rules simply don’t apply.

International institutions did not prevent the economic crisis, they are now failing to regulate the greed and destruction of speculative capital and prevent the next banking crisis. They are doing nothing to rethink the economic and trade model, which has caused unparalleled inequality.
The global economy is no more secure today than it was five years ago.

These same institutions are using the economic crisis as a pretext to attack workers’ rights, wages, job security and social protection as they continue a sustained assault on the wages and conditions of workers who remain in jobs.

In countries like the UK, USA, New Zealand, Australia and now Europe, there have been waves of attacks on workers’ rights and collective bargaining. Each time workers and their unions have protected these rights. Once again, these rights must be preserved.

At present, this full frontal assault is most obvious in European countries where policy makers claim they are trying to cut labour costs to improve international competitiveness and help countries export their way out of deep recessions.

But this attack is not confined to the peripheral countries of Europe. Even more successful economies in Europe, and countries well beyond this region, have also been pressed to match or better these draconian reforms to maintain their own “competitive edge”.

This ITUC Frontlines April 2013 report reviews:

  • the evidence concerning the relationship between different levels of trade union strength, collective bargaining systems and indicators of labour market and economic performance; and
  • evidence about the impact of union strength and collective bargaining on wage differentials and factor shares given the critical role of income inequality as a driving force behind the global economic crisis.
Social Protection and Human Rights