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Wike Been

Wike Been

Instituut Gak fellow

Project title

The fragility of employers' involvement in collective bargaining.

Research question

What conditions and reasons lead employers to join, abstain from joining or exit an employers’ organization, and how have these changed over recent decades?

Project description

Membership rates of employers’ organisations are showing signs of decline. This poses a problem as it jeopardizes the broad coverage of employees through collective bargaining agreements. As fewer employees are directly covered by multi-employer bargaining, there is a potential risk to the legal extension mechanisms.

This development suggests a shift in employers’ attitudes, but the reasons behind this change are unclear. To address this, Wike Been aims to investigate the conditions and factors that motivate employers to join, refrain from joining, or leave employers’ organizations, and how these have evolved in recent decades.

The project fills the gap that remains between the bodies of literature explaining A) why and how employers exit the system of collective bargaining, and B) why they support this system, since neither perspective explains why support changes. The project employs a combination of quantitative secondary data sources and interviews with employers and their organizations.

Selected publications

  • Been, W., Wijngaarden, Y. & Loots, E. (2023). Welcome to the inner circle? Earnings and inequality in the creative industries. Cultural Trends. https://doi.org/10.1080/09548963.2023.2181057
  • Been, W., & Keune, M. (2022). Bringing labour market flexibilization under control? Marginal work and collective regulation in the creative industries in the Netherlands. European Journal of Industrial Relations. https://doi.org/10.1177/09596801221127109.
  • Been, W.M. & de Beer, P. (2022). Combatting exploitation of migrant temporary agency workers through sectoral self-regulation in the UK and the Netherlands. European Journal of Industrial Relations, 28(2). https://doi.org/10.1177/09596801211052532