The ETUI’s Benchmarking Working Europe 2013 shares preliminary findings based on the recently completed content analysis of EWC agreements. The ETUI finds that despite a considerable variety of company profiles and the influence of highly diverse national systems and traditions of industrial relations the basic architecture of rights and the practical arrangements found in EWCs have become increasingly similar.

The data demonstrate that the existence of fallback provisions has clearly strengthened employee representatives’ position in negotiations, enabling them to effectively ‘bargain in the shadow of the law’. It also suggests a very strong learning effect: successive generations of negotiators have not only learned from mistakes made but have also built upon the successes of their colleagues in other companies. For details see chapter 6 of the report.