Completed project

The Impact of Foreign Direct Investment of EU based Companies on the Labour Relations in EU Candidate Countries - Taking the Examples of Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia

Project duration: 
2003 - 2005

Project of the University of Bremen, Institute Labour and Economy, Coordinator Dr. Jochen Tholen. Project was sponsored by Hans-Böckler-Foundation Düsseldorf and Otto Brenner Foundation Frankfurt/M – Berlin.

The objective of the study are the industrial relations at plant/company level.

The theme is the influence of direct investments of EU-15 based companies in the metal, chemical, energy and food processing industry on industrial relations in selected new EU-member states in Central and Eastern Europe (Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia)

The FDI in the CEE countries can play a considerable role to modernise the economy and the social welfare state. Over the last years FDI had a share of over 10% of all investments in Eastern Europe. But it is not only the financial transfer which is important, but the contribution of foreign capital towards the economic and social restructuring of economies and thus also towards the strengthening of domestic labour markets, which may lead to a reduction of migration to Western Europe.

Research questions:

- To what extent in CEEC Brownfield-Investments union and company representations will have the possibility to codetermine companies' industrial relations within the framework of the laws and collective agreements in their respective countries? To what extent do the concepts of the mother companies/direct investors clash with the traditional frameworks of Labour Relations in their Brownfield investments?

- To what extent the new institution of the "works council" ( in the Czech Republic and Slovakia) within the union-free Greenfield Investments can make the path for new union representative bodies? On the other hand are there trends from German mother companies to experiment with completely new systems of industrial relations in their company branches, perhaps in the direction of "non-union zones"?

- How can union and company representatives in the home (EU-15) countries and in the host (new EU member) countries of investment continue to develop the process of Europeanization of Industrial Relations? The European Works Councils could it be an institution to bridge the gap by information and communication?






Principal investigator: 
Grant agency: 
International project

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