Democracy and Citizenship at Work: The Legal Institutions of Workplace Representation and Conflict in Europe


The enterprise is inherently an institution of power or, as put by Otto Kahn-Freund, an ‘absolute monarchy’, that can be democratised only if workers take part in the mechanisms and procedures for setting employment standards and taking decisions at workplace.  The workplace level hence becomes the touchstone to evaluate the degree of democratisation ensured by the different models characterising the European scenario. The exercise of workers’ representation, also supported by the possible resort to collective actions, shall be observed from the workplace in first place, as to assess the enjoyment of democratic rights within an intrinsically non-democratic socio-economic entity such as the company.

EU law, in its more recent social dimension, recognises somehow the importance of cooperation between the employers and the employees and their organisations, in form or social dialogue. However, in the last decades - especially since austerity measures undertaken after the financial crisis of 2007-2008 - many national reforms of labour law and industrial relations have deeply disrupted the legal machinery of people’s voice in the company. Therefore, it seems important to dedicate a deep investigation on the reasons of these critical conditions through two interwoven key-concepts: democracy and citizenship at work.

Since the legal institutions connected to these two concepts are still rooted in domestic legislation, the symposium takes into consideration the EU legal system as well as the systems of the following representative countries: Belgium, France, Italy, Sweden and the UK.


6 May 2019

13:00–13:30: Registration of participants

13:30–14:00: Opening addresses
Dean of the School of Economic and Management, Lund University
Head of the Department of Business Law

14:00–15:30: Conflict and Representation in the EU: Framing the Problem. Chaired by Andreas Inghammar (Lund University)
– The EU as a Space for Industrial Citizenship? Vincenzo Pietrogiovanni (Lund University)
– Industrial Citizenship in the Cross-Border Dimension of the EU Internal Market: Trade Unions and the Re-Making of Borders, Andrea Iossa (Lund University)

15:30–16:00: Coffee break

16:00–17.30: Workplace Representation and the Right to Take Collective Action in 5 EU Member States – Part 1. Chaired by Annamaria Westregård (Lund University)
– Critic of a Single Majority Trade Union System and the Future Impact on Industrial Citizenship, Andreas Inghammar (Lund University)
– Fragmentation and Restructuration of Workers’ Core Demos - A Critical Assessment of Belgian Legal Model of Workplace Representation, Auriane Lamine (Louvain Catholic University)

17:00–18:00: Light Refreshment

7 May 2019

09:00–12:15: Workplace Representation and the Right to Take Collective Action in 5 EU Member States – Part 2. Chaired by Birgitta Nyström (Lund University)
– The Legal Institutions of Labour Representation in Italy, Vincenzo Bavaro and Giuseppe Antonio Recchia (University of Bari)
– Current Changes of Workplace Representation and Collective Action in France: A Flawed Architecture? Gwenola Bargain (University of Tours)

10:30–11:00: Coffee break

– Restrictive Collective Autonomy and the Challenge to Qualitative Systemic Democracy: the UK Example, Fotis Vergis (University of Manchester)

12:15–13:00: Discussion and Closing Remarks by Mia Rönnmar (Lund University)


Get registered by sending an email to Gisela Broomé,, no later than 29 April 2019 (attendance is free of charge).

The Symposium is organised by Vincenzo Pietrogiovanni and Andreas Inghammar, Department of Business Law, Lund University School of Economics and Management, and funded by the Centre for European Studies at Lund University.

6– 7 May 2019


Karlssonsalen, EC3
Holger Crafoords Ekonomicentrum
Tycho Brahes väg 1
223 63 Lund


Gisela Broomé