Welcome to the website of the 11th ILERA European Congress, which was held in Milan, Italy, from Thursday 8 September 2016 to Saturday 10 September 2016. The Congress was hosted in the Faculty of Political, Economic and Social Sciences of the Università degli Studi di Milano, in the city centre.

You can download the available papers and/or presentations here!



  1. I

    Actors at
    national and
    european level

  2. II

    bargaining and

  3. III

    The european
    dimension of

  4. IV

    of the public sector

  5. V

    HRM, business
    quality of work


The XI European Regional Congress of the International Labour and Employment Relations Association (ILERA) took place in Milano on 8-10 September 2016 to explore and analyse developments in labour and employment relations across Europe and in a comparative perspective.

Track I: Actors at national and European level

Trade unions and employer associations are undergoing important transformations in both their structures and strategies. In Europe, in particular, the transnational dimension of representation is particularly strong and developed, due to the role of the European Union, but also to economic integration, which broadly affects all European countries. The state, as the third actor of employment relations, is seemingly taking up a more important role vis à vis social partners, as a number of traditional core elements of industrial relations, like wage setting institutions, are gaining prominence within economic and labour policies. Under this track, we welcome papers and workshops which analyse recent developments and trends in:

  • Trade union and employer representation and representativeness;
  • The internal organisation of social partner associations and their reorganisation processes;
  • The strategies that social partners organisations are implementing to preserve and expand their membership;
  • The actions and initiatives undertaken by governments to influence industrial relations processes and outcomes and more broadly the changes in public policies regarding employment and labour issues.

Track II: Collective bargaining and participation

Collective bargaining remains the key regulatory tool of industrial relations, but, as the decentralisation of negotiation towards the workplace proceeds and economic processes such as the globalisation of markets and production seem to strengthen the position of employers, participatory practices, notably in decision making, can become more important.

Under this track, we welcome papers and workshops on:

  • Recent trends in collective bargaining structures;
  • The analysis of collective bargaining outcomes in terms of number and level of agreements, coverage rates, content of agreements, including wage developments;
  • Studies on legislation affecting collective bargaining, for instance concerning extension mechanisms or the relationship between bargaining levels;
  • Developments in participatory practices.

Track III: The European dimension of regulation

The influence of EU regulation over employment and labour relations in Member States has apparently increased in recent years. While the focus on ‘soft regulation’ since the turn of the century was seen as implying less harmonization across countries and possibly lower effectiveness, the establishment of the European Semester in 2011 seemingly marked a shift to enhanced policy coordination. This was the result of the strengthening of the Stability and Growth Pact and especially of the tightening of fiscal discipline. But, in the framework of the Economic and Monetary Union, the relevance of labour market flexibility as well as of wage developments has increased as a means to address macroeconomic imbalances and therefore key industrial relations processes, like wage setting institutions, have been closely considered in the annual policy reviews. Alongside such developments in the EU regulatory system, the European dimension remains quite important for the social partners. For instance, Europe-wide wage coordination remains on the trade union agenda, EWCs continue to play an important role in the Europeanisation of labour and employment relationships, and the operation of multinational companies across Europe raises a number of issues linked to the transnational nature and impact of their strategies.

Under this track, we welcome papers and workshops on:

  • The changing features and effects of EU regulation over labour and employment relations;
  • The European dimension in the strategies of national and European social partner organisations;
  • The role of EWCs and developments in their actions and achievements;
  • Developments in transnational private governance mechanisms, like code of conducts, voluntary initiatives, framework agreements, social auditing/certification processes, which cover labour standards and employment and working conditions.

Track IV: The transformation of the public sector

The public sector remains at the centre of broad and compelling initiatives, which are affecting in significant ways the economic and employment conditions of public employees as well as the regulatory arrangements. International factors and supranational actors have come centre stage in an environment traditionally sheltered from external pressures. Within the new European Union economic governance the pre-crisis balance between unilateral regulation and collective bargaining has been strained, although to different extent across countries. The role of trade unions has also been affected by seven years of austerity policies and public service restructuring. Old and emerging themes coexist, like the importance and peculiarities of labour conflicts in the sector, with their regulatory problems, and the potential role of service users as a new actor in public service employment relations. The evolution of these features and trends are crucial for the configuration of public service employment relations in the years to come.

Under this track, we welcome papers and workshops on:

  • Collective bargaining and wage setting systems emerging from the economic crisis;
  • Austerity policies, public service restructuring and the role of trade unions;
  • Recent trends in labour conflicts in the public services and regulatory issues;
  • The potential role of public service users as a new actor in public service employment relations;
  • Public service employment relations theory in the new economic and institutional environment.

Track V: HRM, business performance, quality of work

Business strategies and practices are an ever changing element which has a key impact on employment and working conditions. Choices concerning selection and recruitment, skill and career development, training, reward systems, direct participation practices can be crucial for the firms’ economic performance and greatly influence the quality of work. The integration and combined effects of unilateral company policies and industrial relations remain a topical issue for labour studies.

Under this track, we welcome papers and workshops on:

  • HRM practices and the quality of work;
  • Reward systems and business performance;
  • Work organisation, innovation and productivity;
  • Training, skill development and careers;
  • Equality initiatives at the workplace;
  • High-performance workplaces;
  • Employee participation.