How are social policy actors in major sectors of the European economy responding to the current economic and financial crisis? This working paper summarises the plant-level responses of social policy actors to the symptoms of the current recession between October and mid January 2009. It examines how, during this period, organised labour and capital responded to the crisis in several key sectors and countries and what collective bargaining and labour market tools were available to deal with the effects of the crisis and safeguard employment. The paper provides an overview of the effects of the crisis on employees and the micro-level responses of the social partners. A summary of the various tools to which crisis-hit companies have resorted such as collective agreements at the sectoral, industry and company/plant level and legal regulations is provided. A particular focus is made on plant-level agreements on working time flexibilisation that are aimed at avoiding redundancies and labour market instruments to regulate short-time working. The working paper concludes with an overview of the scope and effects of the crisis in terms of employment and working time reduction and the highly diversive plant-level responses to the downturn.

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Plant-level responses to the economic crisis in Europe_2009