International Employment Relations Essay

International Employment Relations Essay

Essay Question:

  • Compare and contrast the role that the state plays in the system of employment relations in France with the role that the state plays in the system of employment relations in Denmark. (40 marks)
  • Word Length: 2500-3000 words

For the last few years back, many researchers have committed themselves to investigating and looking for a detailed conclusion on how various nations coordinate with the public service boards in recruitment and maintenance of employees. This provides a clear evidence that the public service labor relations is an important body which is highly recognized than any other sector in most of the states. It is also evident that traditionally and actually to date the employees do not possess equal bargaining powers for their rights and thus they are always limited to carry industrial actions such as strikes than the private sector workers Bryson (2011). Regardless of less or more collective bargaining power possession of rights, employees who work in the same field of specification team up and form trade unions which fight for their exploited rights whenever such case occurs. This trade union spirit is mostly found with the public servants as compared to those who work in the private sector. The major reason why public servants form these trade unions is the fact that they believe that they have always remained marginalized and instead of the government handling them as important people, they neglect them hoping to fing the assigned duties performed excellently.

What the government expects most from the public servants is total cooperation and maximum commitment regardless of how they treat them and also their remuneration. This is a belief of many of the public servants in most of the countries. Public service employment conditions of the public sector are always very different compared to those of the private sector and that’s why public servants have the highest probability and always prone to industrial actions such as strikes and public demonstrations through their trade unions Damesin (2009).

Authority relationship between the government and the civil servants is practiced in most of the countries, France being one of the highly dominated country by this kind of relationship Laroche (2016). The public civil service system is governed and operated under four civil service laws. Combination of these services forms a civil service statute. The rights and responsibilities of the workers are contained in this statute. It has a detailed and well explained facts and procedures of exactly what the workers should do or abstain from whenever in their normal duties as required for them by the law. The statute also gives the three basic laws which govern the workers in their day to day activities while working for the government. The law which rules the rights of the public state employees (la Fonction publique de L’etat), those public servants located in regional or local government basements (la fonction publique territoriale) and those civil servants who work in the hospitals, specifically the nursing staff (la fonction public hospitaliere). Mainland (2010).

In the case of Denmark, it has actually been an opinion for all that the level of collective bargaining power of the public employees is very high. This was estimated to be about 90% of the total coverage by the Danish ministry of Labor. Just like in France, trade unionism is also highly practiced in Denmark with the public servants claiming to be neglected by the government, more so when it comes to remuneration. According to studies carried out by different statisticians, it is evident that 52% of the servants under private sector have been covered by the collective bargaining agreement which is quite different case to that of France since a very little number of private workers has been included in the agreement (Scheuer, Steen, Collective Bargaining Coverage and the Status Divide: Denmark, Norway and the United Kingdom Compared). Initially there was no private worker involved. They believe that the low level of bargaining power is brought about by the poor or weak organizational structure of the staff and they have really discouraged it Ibsen (2016).

In France, the civil service board is the determinant factor and also the most powerful organ in the sector of employment, salaries and remuneration of various workers. It offers decrees which should be adhered to by the employees. The main principle of the French state recruitment and employment panel is that all the public staff members in whichever field have a public service status Milner (2012).It is the obligation of the state to determine and set the various salaries for their workers such that if the employees may not feel comfortable with the amount, the best option is to quit and not comprise or negotiate with the government agencies. This has been among the leading drivers leading to formation of different trade unions which fight for the rights and needs of the neglected Rosemain (2013).

Civil service board in Denmark is very highly recognized, just like in France but not because of its stubbornness and ability to stress or exploit the workers but it’s due to the fact that it is made to fight for the rights of the employers even before they arise and say it out. Workers are treated like human beings and with a lot of sympathy and for this reason there is no enmity or grudge between the private sector worker, public servants and the government. This is evidenced in the inclusion of about 52% of the private workers in the collective bargaining agreement which is not the case in France where the public servants believe that they have been neglected and all the credits directed to the private workers.

All the relations governing labor in France are organized under a very highly institutionalized system. The system is composed of different commissions which join together through an unofficial a collective bargaining system influenced much by politics and which the salaries and remunerated system is always a subject to negotiation. Through the trade unions, the government loosened their stand to allow salary negotiations to allow smooth running and a better relationship with the workers. This was agreed as early as from 1968 through an agreement called the protocol Oudinot between the government and the trade unions. Currently in France now there is no any particular agreement of salaries and remuneration except that of 1968 so it is a bit difficult to conduct another agreement under whichever scope Thomas (2016).

In Denmark, it is the responsibility of the government in collaboration with the workers to come up with the governing relations which cater and recognize the welfare of every party. Salaries are distributed according to the task done by the employee and not as per the government setting and wishes. There is existence of joint commissions which work under formal conditions with a lot of transparency targeting to encourage their employees, retaining them as well as welcoming the new entrants in the industry. One thing in common between the Denmark and French employment systems is that under whichever circumstances, salaries and remuneration of employees is a subject to negotiation though it doesn’t mean that what the trade unions fight for is always given to them.

When it comes to the issue of flexibility and level of employment protection, the France government is characterized by high level of employment creation and protection as compared to the different case of Denmark where the protection level of employees is low Hansen (2013). In the case of workers compensation in case of injury or death at the workplace or while on duty, France is marked with low level and neglect of employment compensation which is not the case in Denmark where we have a very high level of compensation. Another thing is that in terms of the consequences in relation to various types of flexibility and creation of different job opportunities, Denmark takes the lead with a noticeable high level of numerical flexibility and also having a very high level of creating jobs which is totally the opposite of the case in France where the numerical flexibility is very low as well as the job creation level. This argument is illustrated in the table below.

Table 1. Forms of flexibility and security between Denmark and France and the level of employment protection/level of welfare

  Level of employment protection Level of welfare when unemployed Consequences in relation to form of flexibility and job creation
France High level of employment protection Low level of compensation Low level of numerical flexibility and low level of job creation.
Denmark Low level of employment creation. High level of compensation High level of numerical flexibility and high level of job creation.

Flexicurity on both macro and micro level is also a comparison element when it comes to the roles played by these governments in employment of workers. It is well known that the labor markets don’t constitute of only one employee or employer but they represent more than individual employees and employers respectively. This is only evidenced in the case of Denmark as opposed to other nations. The overall systems of the national industrial relations are acted upon by the trade unions, associations of employers and some of the governmental agencies as well which is totally not the case in France. Below is a table which illustrate the Danish model of flexicurity in comparison to that of France and majorly focusing on the industrial relationship of workers and the employers in the nation.

Table 2. Organizational characteristics, a comparison of Denmark and France.

    Denmark France
1. Trade union density 74% 10%
2. Employers’ associations, density (private sector) 52% 74%
3. Coverage, collective agreements. 80-90% 90-100%
4. Legislation regarding minimum wages No Yes
5. Dominating level of negotiations in collective bargaining Sectorial level (most important), company level, national level Company level (most important), sector level
6. Unemployment benefit system. Relation of trade unions (Ghent system) Ghent system. Unemployment security system related to trade unions. No Ghent system
7. Fundamental orientation in labor market regulation- form of governance Based on collective agreements Based on legislation

 It is evident that the overall organizational characteristics when compared in these two nations, everything is totally different. In the case where Denmark apply the Ghent system as an unemployment benefit system in relation to trade unions, nothing like that appears in the French system of unemployment. The other major difference is that of the fundamental orientation in labor market regulation where for the Denmark nation it is based on collective agreements which is not the case in France where they base it on legislation matters.

Among the characteristics with relationship to the Danish system of enterprise work, is the existence of unions which really fight for the rights of the marginalized and in one way or another they have been able to conquer many battles and remain the epitome of success in their endeavors. As much as the rights of the workers are concerned, the trade unions in collaboration with the workers welfare associations join hands in defending their rights. This is totally a different case in France since each association and trade union works independently though they are all geared towards achieving a similar goal. In Denmark, the main actors in the industrial relations system are the labor market parties but in France the main actors and decision makers as well as the key contributor in the whole sector is the government. This means that the French government has the final say on matters concerning the workers’ salaries and remunerations.

The planning system in France is highly formal and thus the managerial systems of work, authority and power are very easy to find in the system. This is not the case in Denmark as the whole planning process seems to be less formal due to the fact that all the stakeholders must be involved in commending and making decisions in each and every single step taken in the progress of the workers. Instead of following the simpler procedures applied by the French, Danish work is ruled by various strong code of conducts which are enhanced and acquired during training sessions of the employees and also during the apprenticeships. Skilled workers in Denmark also have a very good and significant view of the unions as they see them as the stewards for their survival as well as the fighters of their rights as opposed to the French employees who argue that the trade unions in collaboration with the government work towards exploiting them by giving a lot of work for little pay.

In the management of both micro and small enterprises sectors, the employment by the government in the case of Denmark has these standards and codes being craft- based and not firm-based. This is an indicator that the firm has little or other very limited rights in employment and remuneration of workers. This is a fully pledged duty of the government but still there must be various consultations with the employees and the firm management due to the fact that the way of ruling and execution of duties is informal. Here the information flows easier from one department to another since transparency is exercise and every party is free to ask questions for various clarifications. On the other hand, the management standards of micro and small enterprises in France are firm based where the firm will perform its duties independently after which the laws under the government may approve or disapprove the decisions. To some extent, we can conclude that the rights of the workers in both Denmark and France are somehow limited although in Denmark they are a bit simpler than those of the French employees.

In Denmark still, the larger firms are accredited with higher collective bargaining agreements as opposed to small enterprises. According the way of ruling and recognition the Danish mostly emphasize the size of the business before distribution of the bargaining power. This simply means that SMEs have very little collective bargaining agreement powers as compared to larger firms. Contrary in the French nation, there are no boundaries or any jurisdiction in the rights and bargaining powers of the employees, may it be from the small enterprises or the larger firms. All the employees are taken as equal and in possession of very little rights. No matter the size or the sector a firm is in, for the French government and remuneration department these are just but equal in terms of employee treatment.

In conclusion, it is evident that the system of the workplace representation applied in whichever institution is of great importance and lead to either success or failure of the entire enterprise. Employees are the most important people in every organization and they should be treated with a lot of respect and should not be exploited in whichever way. In Denmark there has been a tradition of the trade unions representing the rights of the workers to the government and this has helped the employees improve in their standards due to this kind of unity as opposed to the French system where even after they form organizations to fight for their rights, they still feel neglected as the government doesn’t give them time to express their needs. No matter the type of employees the government has, there should be recognition as what they do cannot be compared to other activities. A motivated employee will always commit themselves towards achieving the company goals and objectives. Actually they are the determinant factors of either the success or failure of any thriving organization.