Collective bargaining allows employers or employer and employee associations to shape rules governing employment and working conditions. For some three quarters of Dutch employees working conditions are regulated by collective bargaining agreements (CBAs), as well as for (on average) one third of employees in OECD countries. The great advantages of collective bargaining between employers and employees are that the resulting agreements are generally widely supported, and that it is possible to respond to market developments in a swift and targeted manner. Collective bargaining can moreover contribute to the compensation of the weak (or weaker) social-economic position of workers, labour peace, cost containment, and certainty about income and legal status.
Furthermore, strong and independent employer and employee associations can play a significant role in developing sustainable labour relations conducive to stability and economic and social wellbeing. Through more or less formalised consultation processes, they can contribute to the development of socioeconomic legislation and regulation. These values are to a greater or lesser degree embedded in the European social model and in the European Member States. However, the continued relevance and sustainability of these models is being questioned, with particular consideration for issues such as the effectiveness of decision-making processes, the representativeness of trade unions, and organisational strategies. AIAS-HSI studies these and many other aspects of national and international collective bargaining and social dialogue.