Barely a dozen sectoral agreements have been concluded since the creation of social dialogue in Europe. The fault lies with the conflicting objectives of the social partners and the gradual divestment of the European Commission. In a globalized world where, after years of crisis, a large percentage of companies have been forced to look beyond borders to grow or even survive, is now to understand what transnational corporate agreements (ATTs) are and why they are so useful. An ATT is not just a declaration of transnational company agreements that strengthen relations between companies and employees by providing clear and stable rules. This type of agreement has been signed for 10 years and there are already more than 300 in the joint database of the International Labour Organisation and the European Commission. Transnational company agreements within European multinationals have contributed to the Europeanisation of labour relations. Although the European Commission sees these agreements as an innovative instrument for cooperation, it has yet to define a legal framework for them. EURACTIV.fr reports. From the end of the 1990s, the growing influence of globalisation was accompanied by a sharp increase in the number of such agreements in other parts of Europe. In the face of opposition from employers` organisations, the Commission seems to have abandoned the idea of establishing a legal framework for these agreements, including on a voluntary basis, whereas it had planned it in 2004 to promote such agreements.
Between 2000 and 2010, around nine agreements were signed each year on average at European level. Since then, the trend has slipped away unless there is an increasing use of more informal agreements, as Udo Rehfeldt proposes: « German companies sometimes prefer not to qualify the outcome of the negotiations as an agreement. » The European agreement, signed in April 2016 within the French energy company ENGIE after 19 rounds of negotiations, sets out, for example, various social guarantees and aims at the employability and training of employees. These autonomous and voluntary agreements concluded within multinational companies could be a less formal version than the two levels of social dialogue (sectoral and inter-professional) provided for in the European Treaties, but nevertheless constitute a very real part of the agreements concluded between the social partners within the EU. These agreements apply to all jobs and subsidiaries of a company in Europe or elsewhere abroad. Based on telephone interviews with EWC members from 82 companies in the metallurgical industry, this study examines the emergence and dynamics of formal and informal agreements. The study shows for the first time that there are informal agreements between the EWCs and the transnational management, which are recorded in the minutes of the meetings or which, in some cases, are only the subject of an oral agreement. Like formal agreements, they aim to harmonise company policy on a wide range of issues such as transnational restructuring, remuneration issues, health and safety policies and the development of in-company labour relations agreements. It is therefore an important alternative regulatory instrument at the level of European companies. Companies may choose not to disclose the terms of transnational agreements, as they are not subject to legal provisions.
There is no reporting obligation, no implementation rules and no monitoring or dispute resolution mechanisms. . . .