Convergence and/or Divergence in Labor Law Systems? A European Perspective

TitleConvergence and/or Divergence in Labor Law Systems? A European Perspective
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsWeiss, M.
JournalComparative Labor Law & Policy Journal
Pagination469 - 486
KeywordsEuropean Community, globalization, labor law, labor legislation, labor standards, neo-liberal ideology, workers’ rights

This article engages an ongoing debate among labor law scholars over whether the spread of globalization and neo-liberal ideology necessarily lead to a "convergence" or homogenization of labor standards whether that convergence is accomplished by a "race to the bottom," i.e., a general decrease in workers' rights. The author argues that European Community labor legislation has in fact contributed to a "convergence" among member States, but that it has often done so by setting minimum standards whose overall effect is to increase workers' rights with respect to workplace discrimination, health and safety standards, wage and hour laws and alternative forms of employment. The article also points out how EC legislation has promoted worker "voice" by requiring employers to provide information and consult with designated workers' representatives. On balance, the author sees these developments as contributing at least as much to the creation and expansion of workers' rights as to a downward spiraling "convergence" of labor standards.