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Collective bargaining is an important instrument in wage-setting processes, but lacks underpinning with empirical data. Little is known about what exactly is agreed upon in collective bargaining. Few countries maintain databases with coded collective agreements; and agreements are coded for different topics and levels of detail. Attempts to discuss bargaining results at EU level are hampered by the lack of systematic data-collection of agreements. Social partners perceive an increasing need for cross-country comparisons, i.e., because of growing importance of foreign direct investment in EU member states. Therefore, EU-level social partners in commerce, UNI Europa and EuroCommerce, have expressed their interest in a study of content of collective agreements negotiated by their members at national level.

The research institutes AIAS, CELSI and EUBA are joining forces to collect, code and analyse 140 collective agreements in commerce across 28 EU countries, i.e., approx. five per country. The social partners will support this research by collecting agreements. The research institutes are able to cover all languages needed to read these agreements. An existing online coding form of associate partner WageIndicator Foundation (WIF) will be used to code agreements. The database of coded agreements allows for statistical analyses comparing bargaining topics and countries. The research will be complemented with a study of the wide variation in sectoral bargaining practices, needed for the proper interpretation of cross-country differences in agreements.

The research will result in three reports: one will compare the content of the 140 agreements, the second will be about sector-level bargaining settings, and the third will analyse the relationship between agreements’ content and sector-level characteristics. The three reports will be discussed at the BARCOM Main Event in Brussels, for which members of the two social partners and others will be invited to participate.

Acroniem BARCOM
Looptijd Apr 2016 — Mar 2018
In opdracht van European Commission, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
Contract nummer VP/2015/004/0012 (C.2125.0138)
Budget € 298 365
Partners Universiteit van Amsterdam - AIAS (nl) (coordinator)
  Central European Labour Studies Institute, CELSI (sk)
  University of Economics in Bratislava, EUBA (sk)
  EuroCommerce (be)
  UNI Europe (be)
  WageIndicator Foundation (nl)