BARSORIS (BARgaining for SOcial RIghts at Sectoral level)

International Research Project BARSORIS: Bargaining for Social Rights at Sectoral Level

Project financed by EU, European Commission DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Social Dialogue, Industrial Relations (Agreement number. VS/2013/0403)

Duration: December 2013 – November 2014.
Project Management: Universiteit van Amsterdam (AIAS)
Coordinators: Prof. Dr. M. Keune and Dr. N. E. Ramos Martín

Summary

The Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies (AIAS) is coordinating the new international research project BARSORIS: Bargaining for Social Rights at Sectoral Level. The project BARSORIS aims to conduct a comparative study of social partners’ experiences with improving the social rights of precarious/vulnerable workers through collective bargaining and social dialogue in seven EU countries: Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain and the United Kingdom.
In each of these countries, the challenges faced by the social partners in improving the quality of work through collective bargaining and social dialogue will be analysed by the research team. Also, the overall experiences of social partners in using collective bargaining and social dialogue to deal with the social rights of non-regular workers and the actions adopted to assure them decent working conditions will be reviewed. Moreover, four specifically instructive cases for the sectors: industrial cleaning, hospital and health care, construction, and temporary agency work, will be presented in detail in the reports. For that purpose, national reports will be prepared outlining the findings of these activities and describing the case of each specific sector. Also, for each country a policy paper will be prepared summarising the main findings, lessons and policy implications from the national study. Based on the seven national reports an overview report will be prepared comparing the findings of the country studies. The overview report and the case studies will be made available on the websites of the partners involved in the project. They will also be discussed at the closing conference of the project at the ETUI in Brussels, where representatives of the social partners from all EU member states will be invited, as well as officials of the European Trade Unions Confederation, BUSINESSEUROPE and members of the EU sectoral committees.

Information on the action / Specific objectives

The BARSORIS project foresees actions aimed at:
• delivering better insights in how EU Member States deal with a growing segmentation of their labour markets during economic crisis and which concrete measures are taken to improve the precariousness of workers;
• deepening expertise and disseminating information on how the various national industrial relations systems address the issue of ‘non-regular’ or ‘non-standard’ employment;
• assessing the role of ‘non-regular’ work in the general framework of social, economic and demographic developments, with a focus on social exclusion of the EUROPE 2020 target groups.
• expanding the collection and use of information on how collective agreements and/or other social dialogue initiatives are dealing with the quality of work at sectoral level (mainly in industrial cleaning, hospital and health care, construction, and temporary agency work) and on developments at European level in these same sectors.
The project aims to improving the expertise in industrial relations (especially in European and comparative terms) and to promote the exchange of information and experience among parties actively involved in industrial relations (companies, workers, public authorities and research centres) and to promote the development of industrial relations in Europe.

Implementation of the action

Regarding the methodology. BARSORIS will use primarily:

• available statistical data concerning ‘non-regular’ work/vulnerable workers;
• analyses based on desk research on available literature, current legislation, relevant case law at EU and
national level and available texts of collective agreements;
• interviews with representatives from the social partners;
The project will produce 7 case study reports, 7 policy papers and one overview report.
Each case study will cover the following issues:
1. General description of labour market structure and current trends on segmentation of that market (including position of vulnerable groups on the labour markets as women, migrants, young and old-age workers);
2. Brief description of the legal framework and/or social partners’ agreements dealing with ‘non-regular’ employment contracts, in particular, part-time work, fixed-term work, temporary agency work, and pseudo self-employed persons and the conditions for collective bargaining to deviate from that framework.
3. General analysis of social partners actions using collective bargaining and social dialogue to improve the social rights of ‘non-standard’ workers and the measures adopted to assure them decent working conditions.
4. Detailed analysis and evaluation of the working terms and conditions of ‘non-regular’ workers in collective agreements reached in the selected sectors (industrial cleaning, hospital and health care, construction, and temporary agency work), focusing on the following labour conditions (wages, including the incidence of low pay; working time, including the incidence of overtime and overtime compensation; protection against unjustified dismissal; access to collective rights and social protection).
5. Summary and conclusions.
The policy papers will summarize the results of the research and highlight best practices in the selected sectors.

Targeted groups / sectors

The main group directly concerned by the project is social partners around the EU. The project will strengthen their knowledge base on the challenges confronted in dealing with non-regular employment through collective bargaining and social dialogue, promote transnational learning and improve the capacity of trade unions and employers’ organisations to reduce precarious employment. Indirectly the project also concerns the ‘non-regular’ workers themselves. In addition, within the BARSORIS action, four specifically instructive cases for the sectors: industrial cleaning, hospital and health care, construction, and temporary agency work, will be presented in detail in the reports. For that purpose, national reports will be prepared outlining the findings of these activities and describing the case of each specific sector. Also, for each country a policy paper will be prepared summarizing the main findings, lessons and policy implications from the national study.

Transnational dimension

The project BARSORIS has four transnational dimensions:
• regarding the organisation of the project: co-operation between 6 EU research centers as well as with social partners in the respective countries;
• regarding the analyses of the data and the reports: the focus is on comparing data and information from seven EU member states (Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain, Denmark and the United Kingdom);
• regarding the target audience at the main conference: trade union officials and employers’
representatives will be invited EU-wide;
• regarding the locations of the seminars and final conference.

Arrangements for evaluation/monitoring of the action

A scientific committee is set up for the purpose of monitoring the adequate progress of the research and the organization of diffusion activities. This committee is integrated by the following persons:
Prof. Dr. Evert Verhulp, Director of the Hugo Sinzheimer Instituut (HSI) and Director of the Department of Labour and Social Security Law – University of Amsterdam;
Dr. Paul de Beer, Co-Director of the Amsterdams Instituut voor ArbeidsStudies (AIAS) – University of Amsterdam;
Prof. Dr. Maarten Keune, Co-Director of the Amsterdams Instituut voor ArbeidsStudies (AIAS) Chair in Social Security and Employment Relations and Co-Director of AIAS – University of Amsterdam.
Apart from the daily management of the research project by the project leader, Professor Maarten Keune, in collaboration with Dr. Nuria Ramos Martin as assistant manager, Prof. Verhulp and Prof. de Beer are available for consultancy and monitoring of the study. They will comment upon the draft design, provide contacts from their networks if required, and comment upon the draft and final reports.

Innovativeness of the action

In three ways the foreseen research, seminars and conference will have added value and will be innovative:
• It is a pioneering comparative study covering a substantial number of EU countries that considers the role of the social partners, collective bargaining and social dialogue in regulating ‘non-standard’ types of work and reducing precariousness in employment.
• It is the first comparative study covering several EU Member States that will provide four specific case studies for the sectors: industrial cleaning, hospital and health care, construction, and temporary agency work, which will be presented in detail in the national reports. The findings on the social partners’ activities and agreements for each specific sector will be described at the overview report.
• The study is multidisciplinary and complements the analysis of collective bargaining and social dialogue practices by an assessment of the legal framework of these Member States concerning the social rights of ‘non-regular’ workers, as well as an overview of the broader trends in atypical/non-standard employment in the countries under study.

Expected results and dissemination plans

The proposed research and information BARSORIS project will provide new knowledge on precarious/‘non-regular’ employment and on the ways of addressing this issue through collective bargaining and social dialogue. It will produce several country reports, policy papers and an overview report. Also, it will stimulate learning and the exchange of experiences among trade unions and employers’ associations. In this way, the project will contribute to the on-going academic and social partners’ debate on the existing legislation and collective agreements governing the working conditions and social rights of ‘non-standard’ workers, as well as on national social policies and their effects on workers’ protection. It can be expected that the project therefore contributes to the deepening of expertise among the participants and in the broader field.
In more detail, expected results will be:
• better insights in the development of ‘non-regular’/atypical employment in the labour markets of the EUMember States;
• deepened expertise within the European and national social partners’ organizations concerning how to address precarious employment through collective bargaining and social dialogue;
• growing awareness of the processes leading to labour markets fragmentation and best practices concerning conciliation of flexible use of employment contracts and decent working conditions and social rights for vulnerable groups of workers.

During the research project, the AIAS website will act as the project website. This fully publicly accessible website provides information about the project to the public at large, and to documents and information concerning the seminars and main conference. In the follow-up phase, the results of the reports and of the conference will be communicated to trade unionists, employers’ representatives, researchers, representatives of the EU institutions, members of the EU social dialogue committees, journalists and others throughout the EU interested in workers’ rights, working conditions, industrial relations, and collective bargaining.

Disclaimer excluding Commission responsibility

This communication related to the action BARSORIS is made by the beneficiaries and it reflects only the author’s view. The Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

 
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