Theme 9: Industrial relations in Central and Eastern Europe

More than a decade after the largest EU enlargement up to date, industrial relations in the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) continuously appear analytically and theoretically difficult to capture. On the one hand, following the post-2008 wave of interrelated crises sweeping Europe, the “peripheral convergence in the crisis” between the South and East of the continent hypothesis has been made, meaning, industrial relations in the Mediterranean becoming increasingly similar to those in the CEE, mostly in terms of deterioration of collective bargaining. On the other hand, national industrial relations systems in the New Member States (NMS) of the CEE still retain their ‘mixed’ or ‘empty’ nature, which very much parallels the heterogeneous character of Eastern European capitalism. Still other studies note the re-emergence of corporatist institutions, including sectoral social dialogue, institutionalised forms of solidaries in some MNCs and new union practices creating some potential for union revitalisation. Topics of interest range from: bi- tripartite institutions and processes in the CEE countries, varieties and commonalities in collective bargaining developments, varieties of trade unionism, evolving relationship between employers, unions and the state, challenges of Euro convergence and austerity.  The comparative papers are strongly encouraged examining the trajectories of the CEE industrial relations at various levels (company, sectoral, national).