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Three scenarios for industrial relations in Europe

The author outlines three scenarios for the future of industrial relations in Europe. The first – perhaps the most realistic – projects continuing erosion of national industrial relations systems and conditions of employment, in line with current trends. The second envisages that “elite reform” from above will succeed in re-engineering industrial relations and workers’ protection according to an ideal social policy agenda – an unlikely prospect given the overriding importance of financial considerations and globalized competition. The third scenario centres on a countermovement from below which presents trade unions with the daunting challenge of mobilizing the discontented far beyond their traditional constituency.