European Constitutionalism and Industrial Relations
European industrial relations have undergone fundamental changes from the early 1980s onwards. This is mainly due to a range of structural shifts in the mode of economic, social and political reproduction. Most important among them are the following: the reorganisation of work and production (involving new technologies, rationalisation and labour shedding, flexible working conditions, changes in the production chain, or new logistic concepts); sluggish economic growth, high rates of unemployment and a highly fragmented workforce; an expanding service sector; and an accelerated transnationalisation of trade, production and finance. Two other significant factors are the increasing influence of banks, investment funds and insurance companies, and a transformation of the ‘Keynesian welfare state’ into a ‘Schumpeterian workfare regime’, which implies restricted opportunities for social and economic intervention. Most scholars agree that the re-launching of European integration since the mid-1980s should be seen as an integral part of all these tendencies of socio-economic restructuring ( Ferner and Hyman, 1998; Martin and Ross, 1999). Without doubt, its core economic projects – the European Monetary System (EMS), the Internal Market, and Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) – have had a serious impact on the transformation of industrial relations. This applies to the accompanying constitutional reforms: that is, the Single European Act (SEA) and the Treaty of European Union (TEU), as well as concrete legislation – rules, directives and recommendations – and juridical decisions.
However, in view of a whole mosaic of different tendencies, the European mode of regulative transformation and governance seems to