PhD Thesis Title: Common pressure and uneven trajectories. The commodifying impact of the European Union’s new economic governance regime on Irish and Italian industrial relations

Supervisor: Professor Roland Erne

External Examiner:
Prof. Guglielmo Meardi
Scuola Normale Superiore.


Until the beginning of the economic and financial crisis of 2008, the effects of European integration on member states’ industrial relations were mostly felt through ‘horizonal’ constraints imposed by the process of market integration. Whereas European industrial relations could already be described as a multi-level governance system throughout the 2000s, Leisink and Hyman (2005, p. 280) concluded that the European system of industrial relations ‘is evidently not a vertically integrated system, with the European supranational level exerting authoritative direction over national systems’. After the outbreak of the 2008 crisis and the subsequent adoption of a new economic governance regime (NEG) of the European Union, however, the potential ‘vertical’ intrusiveness of EU-level actors into national industrial relations increased significantly (Erne, 2012). Did the process of ‘vertical’ European integration triggered by the NEG regime play a significant role in shaping national industrial relations during the last decade? If yes, how did national industrial relations actors, namely governments, employers and trade unions, adjust their strategies in response to the new NEG regime? In this dissertation, I try to answer to these questions by assessing the EU’s NEG interventions and the changes in industrial relations in two countries, Ireland and Italy, across two sectors, the public and private sector.

Discover our Rankings and Accreditations