European Works Councils in Central and Eastern Europe: Varieties of Institution Building Among French Service Sector Multinationals
19 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2010
European Works Councils (EWCs) were launched as important institutions capable of helping workers coordinate responses to multinational corporations (MNCs). Euro-optimists hoped they might help the transfer of the European social model to Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Euro-pessimists believed they lacked the capacity to be effective and suggested EU enlargement might encourage ‘a race to the bottom’ in Western Europe. This article focuses on the behaviours of eight service sector French-origin multinationals in Bulgaria, Hungary and Poland. It finds that they generally adapt to the host country social model. However, while most keep their subsidiaries in separate compartments, investing little in EWC institution building, some are more ready to invest in stronger EWC institutions and to use them as an integrating tool.
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