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Transnational labour markets and national wage setting systems in the EU


Correspondence should be addressed to Gerhard Bosch, Institut Arbeit und Qualifikation, University Duisburg-Essen, Duisburg 47057, Germany; email:


The article analyses the impact of European regulations of posting on different national wage systems. The article shows that the impact varied across the countries and has been filtered by the national institutions regulating the labour market. In the voluntarist wage setting systems of Germany and even Sweden, they have been a major factor bringing wages back into competition. The ability of national actors to act has been considerably curtailed by the European Court of Justice (EUJ), which has placed free competition above the basic rights of autonomous collective bargaining. Because of the divergent interests of Member States, this weakening of national actors cannot be compensated for by transnational agreements. This ‘negative integration’ brings with it a serious risk that the inclusiveness of European wage systems will be eroded by a series of cumulative effects.