- October 14, 2021
- Posted by: Nicholas Fitch
The use and appropriateness of permanent or temporary exemptions to higher-level agreements are closely linked to the existence of a clear and strict hierarchy between levels of negotiation (as indicated in the discussion on the principle of favourability) and the use of administrative extensions. Indeed, in countries where there is no principle of favourability (or burden on negotiators) and no administrative extensions, as in Northern European countries, there is no need for derogations, because trade unions and companies are free to negotiate agreements that set standards lower than the sectoral agreement. In Denmark, for example, there is no limit to the possibility of temporarily lowering standards. Could the systematically different preferences of young workers explain their lower rates of trade union organisation? Using available longitudinal survey data on attitudes, it is difficult to find clear evidence for this hypothesis. As shown in Figure 2.6 (Panels A and B), respondents aged 20 to 34 in most countries are more committed to individual freedom and solidarity with others than 35-54 year olds. Young respondents also support collective actions such as participating in an event or raising funds for a social or political cause better than their older peers in most countries (panels C and D). Finally, the proportion of people aged 20 to 34 who are members of environmental organizations (8.4%) or consumers (6.5%) is at the same level as older respondents (9.5% and 7.7% respectively) (Global Value Survey, 2010/2014). Moreover, contrary to the “displacement hypothesis”, Ebbinghaus et al. (2011) argue that such a commitment is indeed positively linked to trade union membership.
Collective bargaining can also be costly, both in terms of time and money. Representatives have to discuss everything twice – once at small representation meetings and another time when they pass on information to the wider group. Paying external arbitrators or other professionals quickly can make a pretty large bill, and when someone else is brought in, things often get slower and more complex because even more people are involved. In the previous sections, the scope, building blocks and adaptation arrangements characteristic of national trading systems in OECD countries have been described in detail in order to capture as much as possible their granularity, complexity and diversity. However, national collective bargaining systems should not only be seen as a sum of different elements, but as a system with complex interactions between the different components. In this context, it makes sense to “zoom out” to get an overview of each trading system. .