Area tematica: Politiche e relazioni industriali
Anno: 2015
Tipo di pubblicazione: Materiali Ires ER
Autori: Iacopo Senatori; Matteo Borzaga; William Bromwich; Chiara Cristofolini; Ylenia Curzi; Nadezhda Daskalova; Davide Dazzi; Kenneth A. Dubin; Tommaso M. Fabbri; Bengt Furåker; Francisco J. Gómez Abelleira; Sara Hungler; Miklós Király; Ekaterina Ribarova; Olga Rymkevich
This report outlines the main findings of the research project “Going Up the High Road. Rethinking the Role of Social Dialogue to Link Welfare and Competitiveness”, supported by the European Commission (DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Agreement nr. VS/2013/0349). The idea of a research project on the implementation of occupational welfare schemes across Europe by means of social dialogue emerged from a broader reflection on the shortcomings of the flexicurity approach in the current economic crisis. In the context of the crisis, many companies in the European Union have adopted labour flexibility and management strategies for the reduction of labour costs as the main driver for competition. In so doing, the ability of the European Social Model to operate as a policy framework has been called into question, along with the narrative construct of the European integration project. However, in this problematic scenario, it may be that virtuous regulatory solutions in the labour market can be achieved by actors committed to high-road strategies, including the social partners. In other words, it seems possible to identify a series of “win-win” regulatory solutions capable of responding to the needs of employers in terms of flexibility, productivity and competitiveness, while at the same time improving employment quality to the benefit of employees. The aim of this project was to examine whether and to what extent the social partners are moving in this direction. For this purpose an attempt was made to identify the prerequisites for a high-road strategy embedded in social dialogue practices, and then to assess empirically the extent to which these prerequisites have actually been put into practice by means of social dialogue. For this purpose, occupational welfare was identified as the topic of investigation. Whereas the reasons for this choice are explained in the following sections of this report, it is important to emphasise the role that the distribution of power in the employment relationship plays in determining the conditions under which a high-road strategy, consisting in the simultaneous satisfaction of economic, productive and social needs, can be pursued rather than a trade-off policy, aimed at maximising the advantage of one party to the detriment of the other. The theoretical foundations of the project are derived from Amartya Sen’s capability approach, and particularly the concept of freedom of choice. Based on Sen’s theory, it was assumed that high-road regulation in the field of occupational welfare requires a focus on the needs of workers as individuals. As a result, welfare schemes and provisions laid down in collective agreements could be deemed to be conducive to a high-road strategy in so far as they provide the employee with the freedom to choose measures that are deemed to be the most appropriate for satisfying their needs according to their personal requirements (opportunity freedom), and in so far as the people concerned are able to participate in the regulation that shapes working conditions in order to make their wishes, expectations and needs count (process freedom). At the same time, occupational welfare arrangements need to be seen in context, in order to understand to what extent they are part of a broader competitive strategy and what kind of constraints the parties have to work within. Starting from those premises, the research project sought to analyse the rationale and the functioning of occupational welfare schemes and to cast light on best practices.
Testo completo: Final Report 1.pdf