The volume outlines the main findings of the research project “Going Up the High Road. Rethinking the Role of Social Dialogue to Link Welfare and Competitiveness”, supported by the European Commission (DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Agreement nr. VS/2013/0349). The idea of a research project on the implementation of occupational welfare schemes across Europe by means of social dialogue emerged from a broader reflection on the shortcomings of the flexicurity approach in the current economic crisis. In light of that, and of the general aim laid down by the Europe 2020 Strategy of smart, sustainable and inclusive economic growth, the project looks at occupational welfare as operational terrain for social partners to implement virtuous regulatory solutions, both judicial and organizational, to meet both employers and employees’ needs. The research adopts a broad definition of occupational welfare, encompassing not only services and cash benefits, but also changes in work organization to meet new social needs, such as work-life balance, skills and competence development, and so on, to the benefit of employees. In this perspective, the research aim is twofold. On the one hand, to increase the knowledge base with regard to the implementation of occupational welfare practices in different European industrial relations systems, and namely in Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Italy, Spain and Sweden. On the other hand, to develop a conceptual scheme for the analysis, classification and evaluation of the practices under examination. Data were collected through a review of secondary sources, a first-hand examination of collective agreements, and the in-depth study of companies located in all the countries mentioned above. The research results provide answer to the following issues: - What are the sources of regulation of occupational welfare schemes in the surveyed system? Who are the actors, and at what level(s) do they operate? – What are the matters dealt with under the “occupational welfare” concept? What needs are addressed, and what are the measures adopted? - To what extent do these schemes pursue or establish conditions favourable to freedom of choice? Do they provide any particular procedure or toolkit for employee empowerment or voice? - Are the occupational welfare schemes framed in a more complex competitive strategy? If so, of which kind (defensive or expansive, based on the reduction of costs, on product quality, on innovation)? Are the experiences under examination framed in a set of organizational choices aimed at fostering flexibility? What kind of flexibility (internal, external, both)? Does the experience under examination present some kind of linkage between flexibility and other production-related needs and welfare arrangements?
Going Up the High Road: Rethinking the Role of Social Dialogue to Link Welfare and Competitiveness (agreement No. vs/2013/0349) / Senatori, Iacopo; Curzi, Ylenia; Fabbri, Tommaso; Rymkevich, Olga. - (2015), pp. 1-532.