CEPS Project

Strengthening collective bargaining systems to ensure fair wages and address income inequality in Europe (BFORE)


‘BFORE: Bargaining for Equality – Strengthening collective bargaining systems to ensure fair wages and address income inequality in Europe’ is a research project that brings together six consortium partners and one associate organisation. The main ambition of the project is to identify and analyse collective bargaining processes and practices across Europe that help tackle income inequality and ensure fair wages for all workers. To this end, the project will first examine the interplay between minimum wage regimes, wage structures, collective bargaining systems and inequality, accounting for recent policy and social partner initiatives. Second, BFORE will investigate in detail what kind of agreements are settled, as well as the impact of bargaining practices, processes, strategies, and structures on workers’ incomes.

Special attention will go to the interrelation between sector- and company-level bargaining and to workers in the low-wage segment. Third, BFORE will highlight challenges and gaps, and propose an agenda for strengthening collective bargaining systems across Europe, defining concrete actions and strategies.

BFORE has a comparative and a transnational scope, examining EU-level, national-level and sectorallevel dynamics in the EU27, Norway and the UK. The project covers six industrial relations regimes through national and regional/cluster analyses. Methodologically, BFORE relies on desk research, field work and quantitative analyses. BFORE will produce four working papers, six national reports, six national policy briefs, six cluster reports, as well as a synthesis report and policy brief addressing social partners, policy-makers and other actors. In this way, BFORE aims to provide new insights on collective bargaining systems, practices and processes in relation to wage setting and inequality that could help improve the functioning and effectiveness of collective bargaining.

Caterina Astarita

Research Fellow

Cinzia Alcidi

Director of Research

+32 (0)2 229 39 58

Tamás Kiss-Gálfalvi

Researcher and Head of Project Development

Basak Van Hove

Project Officer

+32 (0)2 229 39 16