Assessing the impact of private equity on industrial relations in Europe
Publication typeVlerick strategic journal article
Publication Begin page1343
Publication End page1370
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AbstractPrivate equity firms are accused by trade unions of changing industrial relations in buyouts by demonstrating an unwillingness to recognize and work with trade unions, and by downgrading information and consultation. To explore these important policy issues, this article reports the first representative pan-European survey of managers’ perceptions of the impact of private equity on industrial relations. Managers report that private equity investment does not result in changes to union recognition, membership density or changes in management attitudes to trade union membership. Furthermore, managers in firms recognizing unions after private equity buyouts do not report reductions in the terms and conditions subject to joint regulation. Under private equity ownership more firms report consultative committees, managers regard these as more influential on their decisions, and indicate increased consultation over firm performance and future plans. Comparing industrial relations changes in different social models in Europe, the results suggest private equity firms adapt to national systems and traditional national industrial relations differences persist after buyout.
Knowledge Domain/IndustryAccounting & Finance