Relations between employers, trade unions, and employees in Europe are rapidly changing.
New competitive demands for organizations, the globalization process and economic turbulence,
new technologies and growing diversity in work forces are leading to new organizational
conflicts in which Employee Representatives (ERs) play a central role. ERs are confronted
with new challenges. The European Commission and the Spanish Government value innovative
social dialogue and the role of the ERs, therefore stimulated this project to empower ERs in
How should the ERs be empowered to negotiate flexible, fair and innovative labour relations?
This was the central question addressed in the study carried out by the ‘New European Industrial
Relations’ (NEIRE) network, in which researchers from eight European countries
conducted three different field studies (questionnaires, interviews and panels) with ERs and
other field expert. The participant countries represent different industrial relations traditions in
Europe. These countries are: Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal,
Spain and the United Kingdom.
Based on these studies, a Best Practices Program (BPP) for empowering ERs is presented in this
book. The BPP involves ten steps:
Flexibility: a Dragon with Multiple Heads
Employability: the Art of Being Capable
Corporate Social Responsibility: Not Only a Fashion Trend
Participation and Dialogue: Engagement in a Context of Change
Trust: As Essential as Breathing
Managing Conflicts: Blending Competition and Cooperation
Critical Competencies for an Innovative Union
Attraction and Commitment: Understanding ERs Individual Perceptions and Differences
Role Conflict and Stress: Juggling Hats
Empowering Employee Representatives: “We can Make the Difference Here!”.