WSI Mitteilungen

: Issue 02/19

WSI-MITTEILUNGEN 2/2019, pp. 87–95

Günther Schmid

Europe in work: A plea for new full employment through inclusive growth


Prominent economists and social scientists consider the central cause for the current crisis in Europe to be the euro. The political and economic costs of giving up the euro, however, would be tremendous. The Euro, could, in fact, be the key issue for a project of “Social Europe”, if only the prevalent financial capitalism were to be countered by a realistic policy of new full employment through inclusive growth. This article provides concrete reform proposals in this direction, in particular related to non-standard forms of employment and the potential creation of a European employment insurance. more... (in German) 

WSI-MITTEILUNGEN 2/2019, pp. 96–105

Anke Hassel, Sophia von Verschuer

A European legal framework for workers’ voice in transnational companies


Given the power of transnational corporations and the social impact of increasing globalisation, new forms of social embedding of companies are called for. Workers’ voice in the form of employee participation in strategic business decisions is an important tool for monitoring business decisions and is a key component of the European social model. However, it is currently underdeveloped and inadequate to meet current challenges. An important approach to strengthening employee participation is based on ensuring their functions in an institutionally diverse environment. Binding forms of worker participation must play an active role in formulating workers’ interests and in monitoring corporate behaviour. European law has a number of positive approaches to the anchoring of participation rights of employees such as the European Social Charter or the recent European Pillar of Social Rights. However, the European- level development of proposals for company law and decisions by the ECJ tend to undermine social standards. European solutions to these issues are the formulation of exceptions to the norms of the EU single market as well as new policy advances towards a more worker-friendly European company law. more... (in German) 

WSI-MITTEILUNGEN 2/2019, pp. 106–114

Hans-Wolfgang Platzer, Torsten Müller

The European trade union federations: the development of their power resources and roles


The article examines how the power resources, tasks and policies of the European trade union federations (ETUFs) changed in the course of the financial crisis which started in 2007/2008. The analysis illustrates that neither of the two conceivable extreme scenarios have materialised: re-nationalisation trends did not block transnational trade union cooperation or erode the ETUFs’ capacity to act; nor did increased transnational solidarity requirements lead to intensified transnational cooperation under the umbrella of the ETUFs. What we can observe instead are only gradual changes occurring over time and varying by policy area; hence, compared to the pre-crisis period, the ETUFs’ current state can be characterised as status quo ante overall. The article, however, also shows that partially weakened national power resources and a trend towards an increased heterogeneity of national trade union interests have made the formulation of joint European strategies even more difficult today than in the past. more... (in German) 

WSI-MITTEILUNGEN 2/2019, pp. 115–124

Willi Koll, Andrew Watt

Convergence of wage development and macroeconomic policy for a stable Economic and Monetary Union


National wage and price developments are decisive for domestic demand, competitiveness and the current account. Balanced growth in the Euro area requires that, not only in the aggregate but in each member state, inflation is commensurate with nominal unit labour cost developments and both variables with the inflation target of the European Central Bank. Yet some member states deviated, in both directions and persistently, from this “Golden Rule of wages and prices”. Tis led to a massive build-up of imbalances regarding domestic demand, current and capital accounts, whose tensions were only resolved via a deep economic and financial crisis. Wages and prices are both drivers of, and are driven by, macroeconomic developments. Thus both the social partners and fiscal and monetary policy makers bear responsibility for adhering to the Golden Rule. This requires cooperation between the macroeconomic policy actors which must be appropriately institutionalised. The authors present a reform proposal that would bring together representatives of monetary and fiscal policy and the social partners in a formal dialogue tasked with respecting the Golden Rule, tailoring their policies towards achieving it while maintaining their autonomy. more... (in German) 

WSI-MITTEILUNGEN 2/2019, pp. 125–132

Klaus Busch

Rightwing populisms in the EU – threats to the integration process


There are mainly five variables which explain the growing power of right-wing populism in key EU member states (Italy, France, Austria, the Netherlands, Germany): economic problems (unemployment), social inequality, political instability, the European refugee crisis and a historical-cultural factor. Right-wing populism is responsible for increasing political instability in the member states and the EU. The growing renationalisation is an obstacle to overcoming difficulties in significant integration conflicts. At the moment there is no solution for the redistribution of refugees between EU member states and for the creation of a European fiscal budget to fight economic crises in the EU. In combination with Brexit and the weakening of democracy and the rule of law in key Eastern European member states, the process of integration is being endangered. more... (in German) 

WSI-MITTEILUNGEN 2/2019, pp. 133–141

Thorsten Schulten, Malte Lübker

WSI Minimum Wage Report 2019: The time has come for substantial wage gains and a European minimum wage policy


Over the past few years, the potential of mini mum wages as an instrument towards safeguarding adequate living wages has been increasingly recognised in the political discourse. Against this backdrop, the WSI Minimum Wage Report 2019 tracks current developments in all 22 EU Member States that set a statutory mini mum wage, as well in 15 neighbouring countries in the EU and beyond. The report shows that the dynamic growth of minimum wages observed in the past extends into 2019, leading to a median increase of 4.8 per cent in the European Union. The trend is driven by further catch-up growth in Eastern Europe, and also by a substantial minimum wage adjustment in Spain. Averaging across the EU, minimum wages are now equivalent to just over 50 per cent of median wages. However, they still fall far short of the conventional low-pay threshold. A further increase is therefore one of the major objectives of a coordinated European minimum wage policy. more... (in German) 

WSI-MITTEILUNGEN 2/2019, pp. 142-145

Frank Gerlach, Astrid Ziegler

In favour of an offensive regional industrial policy by IG Metall – strategies and measures


Regional industrial policy is facing major challenges. Digitalisation, demographic trends, increasing indications of climate change and the consequences of globalisation also demand a response at the regional level. As a contribution to a more intensive discussion and debate key points in strategy as well as the use of industrial-policy instruments at the regional level are cited. It is considered a necessity to switch from a reactive to an offensive employee-oriented regional and industrial policy. IG Metall can and must be a driving force here for the benefit of workers in order to safeguard industry in regions with a strong industrial base and foster re-industrialisation in weak regions in the future. more... (in German) 

WSI-MITTEILUNGEN 2/2019, pp. 146-147

Daniel Seikel

The overlooked democratic deficit Why the democratisation of the EU has to start with European Single Market law


Europe is in a crisis. In the upcoming elections for the European Parliament, it is possible that right-wing populist parties might increase their votes. Criticism of the democratic deficit within the European Union is growing. Many of the currently discussed reform proposals ignore the problem of the over-constitutionalisation of European Single Market law. Any strategy aiming at democratising European Governance must begin by addressing this problem. more... (in German)