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Strikes, employee workplace representation, unionism, and industrial relations quality in European establishments

John T. Addison and Paulino Teixeira ()

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2019, vol. 159, issue C, 109-133

Abstract: This paper investigates the relationship between different types of workplace representation and strikes using the 2009 European Company Survey. It also examines the role of the workplace climate, union organization, and collective bargaining. Our principal finding is that works councils are associated with reduced strike activity. But this result is sensitive to the union status of work councilors: where union members make up a majority of works councilors any beneficial effect of the entity on strike incidence is no longer evident in the data. Not only do union-dominated works councils experience greater strike activity than their counterparts with minority union membership, but also more strikes than establishments with union workplace representation where union members are in a minority. Dissonance between the parties, as indexed by degree of divergence between the opinions of employer and employee representative survey respondents as to the state of industrial relations at the workplace, is associated with elevated strike activity. If our measure of dissonance is exogenous, this result suggests that industrial relations quality may be key to strike reduction independent of workplace representation. Finally, there is some indication that union density at the workplace is directly associated with strike incidence, as well as evidence that strikes are more likely when collective bargaining occurs at higher than company level.

Keywords: Strikes; Works councils; Employee representation; Industrial relations quality; Collective bargaining (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J51 J52 J53 J83 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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