Governance by Collective Bargaining: The Social Dialogue

  • Ailish Johnson
Part of the St Antony’s Series book series


The creation and implementation of social policy, in particular labour market policies, by governments in cooperation with unions and employers7 groups is a feature of several national systems in Western Europe, such as those of Belgium and Austria. Tripartite policy-making (governments, unions, employers) is also a feature of the International Labour Organization (ILO), created in 1919. In other national systems, unions and employers (the social partners) are left to bargain independently of the government. In these bipartite cases, longstanding social-democratic governments implicitly support national-level collective bargaining and the implementation of collective agreements, such as in Sweden and Denmark, or there is a long tradition of sectoral (industry) collective bargaining where key sector negotiations lead bargaining that is used as the national standard, as in Germany. The development of governance by collective bargaining at the EU level thus takes its inspiration from international social policy-making, and even more so from national traditions in EU Member States.


Member State Collective Bargaining Social Partner Union Density Collective Agreement 
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© Ailish Johnson 2005

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  • Ailish Johnson

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