Bargaining along the value chain: Italy and Germany compared

  • Benassi, Chiara (PI)
  • Dorigatti, Lisa (CoI)

Project: Research

Project Details


The project is supported by the Hans Boeckler Foundation.

The growth of vertical disintegration in the form of agency work and the use of subcontractors has dramatically increased over the last three decades. These processes have contributed to the decline of industrial relations institutions and of voice mechanisms for employees, and the growth of inequalities on the labor market. Through a comparative research design including two metal plants respectively in Italy and Germany (four plants in total), the research project investigates the strategies adopted by workplace labor representatives (e.g. works councils) in order to represent agency workers and workers employed by subcontractors and to bargain on their behalf. We will investigate how the combination of institutional and socio-economic factors affects the extent to which and how workplace representatives managed to include those workers, focusing in particular on the interaction between different regulatory levels (national, sectoral and workplace). Moreover, we will assess the effect of such strategies on the employment conditions of the marginal workforce and identify under what conditions workplace representatives have been able to improve them. By so doing, we will illustrate how workplace representatives can successfully respond to employers’ casualization strategies and can extend representation across firm boundaries.
Effective start/end date25/05/16 → 31/12/16


  • casualization
  • collective bargaining
  • agency work
  • subcontractors