AIAS Lunch Seminar 17 April: Ines Wagner (WSI, University of Jyväskylä and University of Groningen) & Lisa Berntsen (AIAS, University of Jyväskylä and University of Groningen)

‘The Europeanisation of national labour markets: transnational agency and posted work in Germany and the Netherlands’

Ines Wagner & Lisa Berntsen

Day: Thursday 17 April 2014
Time: 12.15 – 13.15 hrs.
Location: AIAS, 2nd floor, G building, Nieuwe Prinsengracht 130, Amsterdam
Registration: Please send an email, preferably before Wednesday 16 April, 12.00 hrs, to register.
A sandwich will then be provided.


EU institutions, most importantly the European Commission and The European Court of Justice (ECJ) have been the driver of liberalizing the European labour market. They created a space in which labour mobility often takes the form of temporary movements regulated via the EU framework of services or labour mobility. Contracted via subcontractors or temp agencies labour is getting more and more “externalized” from national institutional settings. Most of the research on the Europeanisation of labour markets looks at the encounter between Europeanization and national institutions systems. We seek to extend this research by looking at what happens when the EU regulatory context of labour and services encounters national regulatory contexts and is appropriated in specific contexts and by various actors. The policy arenas of the EU, its member states, and ground level policy implementation are intertwined, and must be understood together.

We systematically compare the regulatory context for a pan-European labour market between Germany and The Netherlands and its actual appropriation on the micro-level. We focus on the construction sector because in both Germany and the Netherlands it is relatively densely regulated. Based on in-depth interviews with short-term labour migrants, social partners and policy-makers complemented by participant observation and field notes we investigate the regulatory context at exemplary construction sites in the two countries. In particular we focus on certain minimum rights ensured by the EU framework of services and short-term labour mobility as well as chain liability mechanisms and collective redress opportunities within Germany and the Netherlands. Our research findings suggest that although there are some differences in enforcement practices due to different institutional setups, systematic circumvention of local labour standards happens on a large scale in both countries. Investigating the way the regulation is appropriated at the micro-level can give insights into the loopholes created by the interplay between Europeanization, national systems and private actors.

The next lunch seminar will be on Thursday 22 May 2014, Stella Mia Sieling-Monas (FORSA, Aalborg University) – Sickness Benefits in Denmark

Click here for all the AIAS lunch seminars from January – July 2014

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