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Market integration and social rights in Europe

Aristea Koukiadaki’s project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust under its Early Career Fellowship Scheme, explores the socio-legal impact of the recent case-law by the European Court of Justice (Viking, Laval, Rüffert and Luxembourg) on industrial action and collective standard-setting. It pays attention to contrasting developments leading to a ‘race to the top’ or to the ‘bottom’ of national employment rights’ protection systems. The project, which commenced in April 2010 and intersects with the theme of legal regulation of the employment relationship, will be carried out within a two-year period. The research plan involves the conduct of empirical and legal research in four EU Member States, i.e. two states which are primarily hosts to posted and migrant workers (Sweden and the UK) and two which are primarily senders. Empirical research is underway in the UK. Reflecting the developments so far, the UK case study concentrates on the employers’ and unions’ approaches to the legal framework for industrial action in the transport sector, as influenced by the case law, and the future of local labour clauses in the construction sector. The second case study will take place in Sweden; to that end, a visiting research fellowship was recently awarded by the University of Uppsala and empirical research will take place between March and April 2011. Koukiadaki presented a paper about the legal and institutional changes in the EU Member States directly involved in the case law of the European Court of Justice in seminars organised at Birkbeck College (London) and Darwin College (University of Cambridge).