Progetto di ricerca
The Role of Transnational Company Agreements (TCAs) in the prevention of Social Dumping Practices among European suppliers and (sub)contractors of Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) in the Metal Industry – Two in depth case studies from Germany and Italy
The aim of the present research is to reveal and describe the presumed ‘unfair’ shifting of production costs to the lower ends of the value chain inside the European Union (EU), that is suppliers and (sub)contractors of multinational enterprises (MNEs) saving on labour costs by enhancing a harmful ‘race to the bottom’ in regard to working conditions and working standards. For this purpose, the concept of ‘social dumping’ (welfare, wage and fiscal dumping) is adapted to the present study to show that suppliers and (sub)contractors in competing for MNEs’ tenders, invest, in fact, in social dumping practices that are ‘hidden’ and often on the border to legality. The present research assumes, or better hypothesizes, that suppliers’ and (sub)contractors’ actual opportunities that allow them to invest in such hidden social dumping practices inside the same country and/or at least inside the EU-area, are linked to a.) some of their own specific firm characteristics (firm size, unionisation rate, sector, power position in the core enterprise’s supply and production chain…), b.) to some of the core enterprise’s characteristics (corporate governance model, CSR attitude…) as well as c.) to the respective legal frameworks (national and European) and industrial relations contexts (posting of workers, collective bargaining system and tradition, presence or not of sectoral minimum wages …). These assumptions/hypotheses will be tested through first-hand, detailed, sensitive information arising from an in depth analysis of two case studies from Germany and Italy in the metal sector, interviewing the management AND labour side of both the core enterprise and ALL its suppliers and (sub)contractors that operate (at all levels) inside the European Union. Since the phenomenon of ‘hidden social dumping along the supply and production chain of MNEs’ is transnational in its nature and combines various different aspects of law, industrial relations, collective bargaining and CSR, voluntary Transnational Company Agreements (TCAs) are chosen as appropriate/suitable tool and lens through which to study this social phenomenon. TCAs not only combine the different aspects and perspectives touched by the here exposed social dumping analysis (TCAs are transnational by definition, negotiated between the management and labour representatives, their functioning is influenced by the respective legal and cultural-CSR frameworks they are signed in…), but they actually also represent, among others (like ‘hard law’ – state regulation and different forms of collective bargaining…), one possible and potential tool to prevent (these same) social dumping practices. The present research is structured as follows: The First Chapter will introduce the phenomenon of social dumping, illustrate how it is adapted to the present research and adopted in the present research and circumscribe the relevant legal framework (national and European) and industrial relations contexts (particularly European, German and Italian) in which the whole analysis is embedded. The Second Chapter introduces the topic of TCAs and links them to the present study both as lens/perspective through which the study is conducted as well as one possible potential tool to prevent (the here studied) social dumping practices along the value and production chain. The Third Chapter is the empirical part of the research that analyses the two case studies in order to test the assumed hypotheses, observe and describe the (possible) reasons and factors that allow for social dumping practices among European suppliers and (sub)contractors of MNEs, answer the research question and, if possible, also specify some observations on how (and what tools to apply) to prevent the harmful phenomenon of ‘hidden social dumping along the European supply and production chain of MNEs’.
Interessi di ricerca e pubblicazioni
Interessi di ricerca
Interdisciplinary academic profile in Economics (BA University of Mannheim, Germany), Political Science (MA University of Bologna, Italy) and Labour Law with focus on (International) Industrial Relations (PhD candidate at Marco Biagi Foundation – University of Modena and Reggio Emilia and former Junior-Researcher at the Social and economic research Institute IRES Emilia Romagna). Pragmatic and target driven person, with a positive attitude. Fluent in 4 languages (German mother tongue, Italian second language, fluent in English, good knowledge of Spanish). Passionate about socio-economic developments, politics, worker rights, trade unions, collective action, education and vocational training especially at transnational and European level. Special personal interest on balancing the European fundamental freedoms’ gains between capital and labour and re-equilibrate power relations with focus on (transnational/European) industrial relations, redistribution of wealth, (proper) convergence policies, fair international governance and environmental justice and sustainability.