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Negotiating Our Way Up provides a comprehensive assessment of the functioning of collective bargaining and workers’ voice in OECD countries as well as new insights on their effect on labour market performance and their role in a changing world of work. Combining a large variety of sources and data, the report analyses the challenges that collective bargaining systems are facing in OECD countries, as well as their role to promote more inclusive labour markets. Collective bargaining is a key institution to promote rights at work. At the same time, collective bargaining and workers’ voice are unique instruments to reach balanced and tailored solutions to the challenges facing OECD labour markets. However, fruitful exchanges between social partners are not a given and collective bargaining systems need to be designed in ways that allow balancing inclusiveness and flexibility. Negotiating Our Way Up provides a useful resource for policy makers, trade unions and employers’ organisations interested in understanding how to make the most of these instruments.

The report consists of three main thematic parts. After an overview of the report’s main messages in Chapter 1, the first part of the report provides a detailed review of the key actors and functioning of collective bargaining institutions and workers’ voice arrangements across OECD countries. The second part, analyses the role of collective bargaining systems for employment, job quality and labour market inclusiveness. It notably steps into relatively unchartered territory, namely the relationship between collective bargaining, workers’ voice and the non-monetary aspect of job quality, such as the quality of the working environment. Finally, the last part of the report discusses how collective bargaining can be adapted to address emerging challenges such as those related to automation, globalisation and ageing. It identifies the type of government intervention that may be required to support this adaptation, including by ensuring that the increasing share of non-standard workers can access collective voice and bargaining.

Negotiating Our Way Up builds on the work done on collective bargaining by the OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs since 2016. Chapters 2, 3 and 5 build on the OECD Employment Outlook 2017, the OECD Employment Outlook 2018 and the OECD Employment Outlook 2019. The report was edited and drafted by Sandrine Cazes, Andrea Garnero, Sébastien Martin and Chloé Touzet under the supervision of Stefano Scarpetta, Mark Pearson and Stéphane Carcillo. Alexander Hijzen and Oliver Denk contributed to Chapter 3. Andrea Bassanini provided helpful comments and suggestions. Editorial assistance was provided by Natalie Corry and Duniya Dedeyn.

This report was produced with the financial assistance of the German Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. It could not have been prepared without the co-operation of the Labour and Employment Ministry staff in OECD and accession countries, as well as of the staff of many national employer associations and unions who completed the OECD policy questionnaires on collective bargaining. The report has also greatly benefited from helpful discussions and suggestions from the participants at several meetings of the OECD Employment, Labour and Social Affairs Committee, the OECD Working Party on Employment, the Business at OECD ELSA Committee, the Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) to the OECD Working Group on Economic Policy and on Education and Skills as well as at three OECD expert meetings on collective bargaining. In particular, Professor Jelle Visser’s wisdom, knowledge and friendly support all along the work have been an enormous help.

The views expressed herein cannot be taken to reflect the official opinion of the OECD member countries nor of any of the people, organisations and governments that helped the Secretariat during the research and drafting process.

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© OECD 2019

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