Multinational companies (MNCs) frequently invest in countries with lower wages and worse trade union representation than in their home country. This could be expected to lead to a stronger position for capital relative to labour in all countries. However, there have also been hopes that MNCs might be expected, or persuaded, to improve conditions in host countries by transferring practices from their home country.
At this ETUI webinar, a recently published ETUI book will be presented which aims to analyse the behaviour of MNCs when they operate in a group of central and east European countries that joined the EU in 2004 (Czechia, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia) and in 2007 (Romania). The authors try to answer the question whether, when investing in another EU Member State, MNCs can be expected to respect employees’ rights to the same extent as when at home. It appears from these case studies that, alongside a wide diversity of approaches, MNCs rarely transfer good practice from their home countries voluntarily or willingly. Much more frequently, they need to be persuaded and the outcome depends on MNCs’ behaviour and on the strength and activities of trade unions as active joint creators of employment relations and not just as passive recipients of systems decided by managements.
Have MNCs been helpful in bringing conditions for unions? Martin Myant, Associated researcher ETUI and editor of the book
Discussion with the authors of the different chapters: Branko Bembič (Slovenia), Adam Šumichrast (Czechia and Slovakia) TBC, Monika Martišková (Czechia), Pavol Bors (Slovakia), Tibor Meszmann (Hungary), Jan Czarzasty and Maciej Pańków (Poland) and Aurelian Muntean (Romania)
Chair: Philippe Pochet, General Director ETUI