PROSPERITY AND LABOR RELATIONS IN WESTERN EUROPE: ITALY AND FRANCE.

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    • Abstract:
      The question examined here is that of the impact of increasing prosperity, economic growth, and full employment on the Italian and French labor relations systems. In the case of Northern Italy (it being inappropriate to characterize Southern Italy as prosperous), the author finds that wages have "drifted" above those contractually specified, that unions have attempted to bargain for smaller units than in the past and have sought to enhance their strength at the plant level, and that the ties between political parties and labor federations are showing some signs of loosening. In the case of France, on the contrary, it is concluded that there are few indications of change. The industrial relations system continues to be largely centralized. There is little evidence of a trend toward local unionism and plant bargaining, despite "wage drift" and other economic conditions similar to those found in other European countries. French unions continue to be occupied principally with ideology and politics. Weakness of the labor movement, French industrial structure, legislative policy, and France's tumultous internal and external politics of the post-World War II era are suggested as possible causes for this absence of change. This is in contrast to the situation in other countries, affording some basis for concluding that new industrial relations systems may be emerging in some parts of Europe. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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