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Social Law and Comparative Labour Relations

Code: 42713 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
4313228 Social Policy, Employment and Welfare OT 0 2
The proposed teaching and assessment methodology that appear in the guide may be subject to changes as a result of the restrictions to face-to-face class attendance imposed by the health authorities.


Oscar Molina Romo

Use of Languages

Principal working language:
spanish (spa)


Miguel Angel Purcalla Bonilla


There are no specific requirements

Objectives and Contextualisation

The objective of the module "European Social Law and Comparative Employment Relations" is twofold.


On the one hand, it aims to facilitate knowledge of the social content of European primary law. In this regard, the content of Regulations, Directives, Recommendations, Resolutions and other legal texts of the European Union on labor and Social Security matters will be analyzed. The jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union will also be analyzed.


Second, the module also aims to analyze, from a comparative perspective, the employment relations systems of different countries, because of their importance within social models. In this sense, the objective of this part of the module is to analyze in depth the differences between trade union models and their strategies, as well as business organizations. Likewise, institutional differences between countries and their relevance to explain phenomena such as wage inequality will be analyzed.


  • Design, implement and evaluate social policies and processes for resource redistribution and improvement of citizens' welfare, in different contexts and from a European perspective.
  • Work individually and in multidisciplinary, international teams.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Analyse the rules on case law procedures of the European Union.
  2. Describe the European Union's directives, rules and recommendations on employment and social matters.
  3. Recognise European case law on collective bargaining.
  4. Recognise the employment and social directives of the European Union.
  5. Work individually and in multidisciplinary, international teams.


The module is structured in two parts.

PART A - Comparative Labor Relations (Prof. Oscar Molina)

The first part of the Module analyzes, from a comparative perspective, employment relations systems. The objective of this part of the module is to delve into the different dimensions / elements of national labor relations systems, and the variation that we find between countries. Similarly, this part analyzes in detail the factors behind the transformation of employment relations systems. Finally, transnationalization processes of employment relations systems are also addressed, including processes of European integration and other phenomena such as global value chains.

Session 1 - The Comparative Analysis of Employment Relations: Relevance, Dimensions, Perspectives and Theories
- The perspectives of analysis of employment relations
- Most relevant theories in the analysis of employment relations
- The analysis model of the ‘industrial relations system’
- Dimensions of a system of industrial relations
- Comparative analysis in industrial relations; theories and methods
- Models and types of unionism

Session 2 - Models of Labor Relations and Models of Capitalism: Convergence or Divergence?
- The theory of varieties of capitalism and employment relations
- Coordinated market economies
- Liberal market economies
- Mixed economies
- The debate on convergence and / or divergence in employment relations

Session 3 - Labor Relations and Inequality
- The relationship between employment relations and economic performance; main theories
- Neo-corporatism, economic performance and inequality
- Growth of inequality; role of employment relations
- Dimensions of Collective Bargaining and Inequality

Session 4 - Globalization and Labor Relations
- Transnational collective action; repertoiresand actors
- International value chains and their regulation
- International HR management; perspectives
- Dimensions in international human resources management


Each of the parts of the module explained above (Part A - Comparative Employment Relations and Part B - European Social Law) will have four sessions.
The development of the teaching of the subject and the training of students is based on the following activities:

1. Directed activities:
1.1 Lectures: through which the student acquires the conceptual bases of the subject. These are activities in charge of the teacher in which he will assume the explanation of the subject corresponding to the session, but seeking the active participation of the student through questions, the presentation and discussion of specific cases, etc.
1.2. Presentation and discussion of readings. They involve the preparation and discussion in class of readings related to the subject presented. For this, the students will receive bibliographic support and guidance from the subject teacher. Given the complexity of the matter addressed and the frequent prior ignorance of it by the students, it will be ensured that the topics to be exposed are affordable or of greater simplicity.

2. Supervised activities:
These are activities that students must occasionally do in the classroom, before or after the presentation and / or reading discussion. It is the answer to questions related to the subject of the day and / or the articles provided to students through the virtual campus.

3. Autonomous activities:
3.1. Preparation of exercises: through this activity the student must apply the knowledge acquired in the lectures to weekly exercises. The exercises will also be based on the readings proposed by the teachers.
3.3. Reading of materials and preparation of summaries: this involves reading and analyzing the articles and regulations that, before each session, will be provided to students on the virtual campus.

Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Master classes 22 0.88 2, 3, 4
Type: Autonomous      
Assignments 83 3.32 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Oral presentation 20 0.8 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Reading of materials and preparation of summaries of articles 25 1 1, 2, 3, 4


The evaluation of the Module will be structured as follows:

Part A - Comparative Employment Relations
The evaluation will consist of two types of exercises. Every week, an an analytical assignment related to the subject that has been discussed in the session will be delivered. The exercise will consist of two parts:
The first part consists of a series of questions to be answered on the basis of the theoretical discussion developed in the class of the corresponding week, and a reading. This part is delivered the following week.
The second part consists of a cumulative exercise of comparison of industrial relations systems. To carry out this exercise, the institutional database OECD / AIAS ICTWSS (The database on Institutional Characteristics of Trade Unions, Wage Setting, State Intervention and Social Pacts) will be used. Each student will select two countries that are in the database to compare them. In the second part of the weekly exercise, students will be asked to compare some of the dimensions / variables that are in the database, which will refer to the theoretical contents addressed that week. This second part is not delivered weekly, but the four exercises will be compiled and delivered once the module has been taught.


Part B - European Social Law
The evaluation will consist of two pieces of evidence or elements.
First, active participation in the sessions. The sessions are structured around the discussion of materials previously posted on the CV. The teacher's presentation is structured around the debate presented, but incorporating practical elements based on cases, sentences, etc.
Second, in carrying out exercises / practical cases based on the contents of the sessions. Such exercises can be carried out individually or in a group of a maximum of 2 students. The guidelines in this regard (deadlines, solution methodology, extension) will be indicated by the teachers at the beginning of the module.

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Active Participation (Part B) 25% 0 0 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Analytical Assignments (Parte A) 25% 0 0 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Assignments / Practical Cases (Part B) 25% 0 0 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Comparative Analysis of Employment Relations Systems (Parte A) 25% 0 0 1, 2, 3, 4, 5


Parte A

Sesión 1

Locke, R., Kochan, T., & Piore, M. (1995). Reconceptualizing comparative industrial relations: Lessons from international research. Int'l Lab. Rev., 134, 139.

Beneyto, P. J. (2008). El sindicalismo español en perspectiva europea: de la anomalía a la convergencia/The Spanish trade unionism from an European perspective: from anomaly to convergence. Cuadernos de relaciones laborales, 26(1), 57.

Barranco, O., & Molina, Ó. (2014). Sindicalismo y crisis económica: Amenazas, retos y oportunidades. kult-ur, 1(2), 171-194.

Bernaciak, M., Gumbell-McCormic, R., & Hyman, R. (2015). El sindicalismo europeo:¿ de la crisis a la renovación?. Fundación 1o de Mayo.

Lucio, M. M. (2008). ¿ Todavía organizaciones del descontento?: los retos de las estrategias de renovación sindical en España. Arxius de sociologia, (18), 119-133.

Frege, C., & Kelly, J. E. (Eds.). (2004). Varieties of unionism: Strategies for union revitalization in a globalizing economy. Oxford University Press on Demand.


Sesión 2

Regini, M. (2003). Tripartite concertation and varieties of capitalism. European Journal of Industrial Relations, 9(3), 251-263.

Fernández, V. R., & Bazza, A. (2016). Repensando las Variedades de Capitalismo desde la Periferia. Desenvolvimento em Questão, 14(35).

Hall, P. A., & Soskice, D. (2001). Varieties of Capitalism: The Institutional Foundations of Comparative Advantage


Sesión 3


Calmfors, L., & Driffill, J. (1988). Bargaining structure, corporatism and macroeconomic performance. Economic policy, 3(6), 13-61.

Metcalf, D., Hansen, K., & Charlwood, A. (2001). Unions and the sword of justice: unions and pay systems, pay inequality, pay discrimination and low pay. National Institute Economic Review, 176(1), 61-75.

Molina, O., & Rhodes, M. (2002). Corporatism: The past, present, and future of a concept. Annual review of political science, 5(1), 305-331.


Sesión 4

Bieler, A., Erne, R., Golden, D., Helle, I., Kjeldstadli, K., Matos, T., & Stan, S. (Eds.). (2015). Labour and transnational action in times of crisis. Pickering & Chatto Publishers.

- Hyman, R. (2015). Tres hipótesis sobre el futuro de las relaciones laborales en Europa. Revista Internacional del Trabajo, 134(1), 5-15

- Beneyto, P. J. (2016). Trabajo y sindicalismo en la globalización Work and unionism in the globalization era. Revista Española de Sociología (RES), 25(1), 57-83.



Sesión 1

PURCALLA BONILLA, M.A. (2009): El trabajo globalizado: realidades y propuestas. Thomson-Aranzadi

TRIGUEROS MARTÍNEZ, L.A. (2012): Los derechos sociales fundamentales de los trabajadores inmigrantes, Comares















Sesión 2

CERVERA SOTO, T. y CID BABARRO, C. (2016): El despido colectivo. Claves prácticas y análisis jurisprudencial, Lex Nova

PURCALLA BONILLA, M.A.: “La extinción colectiva de los contratos de trabajo en las AA públicas y en el sector público”. Revista Española de Derecho del Trabajo, nº 162-2014, págs. 37-70










Sesión 3

PURCALLA BONILLA, M.A. y PRECIADO DOMÈNECH, C.H.: “Salud laboral y prevención de riesgos laborales (normas generales y sectoriales)”, Revista del Ministerio de Empleo y Seguridad Social, nº 177-2015, págs. 185-2011










Sesión 4

LLAMOSAS TRAPAGA, A. (2015): Relaciones laborales y NTIC, Dykinson

PURCALLA BONILLA, M.A. y PRECIADO DOMÈNECH, C.H.: “Trabajo a distancia y teletrabajo”, Actualidad Laboral, nº 2, 2013.









No specific software required