Labour context in Europe

ltrav2700  2020-2021  Louvain-la-Neuve

Labour context in Europe
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the information below is subject to change, in particular that concerning the teaching mode (presential, distance or in a comodal or hybrid format).
5 credits
15.0 h
Main themes
They will give them an initial understanding of the economic, political, institutional and industrial relations context in these countries (i.e. France, Germany, Great Britain, It-aly, Portugal and Spain). It will also seek, through reading and discussions during ses-sions, to lead a reflection on the issue of working time in these countries. By the end of the course, students will understand how this issue presents in the country that they are working on as a group. Content: To deal with the 'contextual factors of work', students will have take an interest not only in the contexts in which the work is carried out, but also in the work itself. In order to address it concretely, the seminar will be based on a study of a particular issue such as working time or equal opportunities. In the framework of a research project sce-nario, we will attempt to find out whether there is convergence of working time in various countries of the European Union, and, if so, why. The focus will therefore be on identify-ing the regulations in force in these countries, the debates that are taking place, any negotiations under way on the subject, and the economic, political, institutional and in-dustrial relations contexts in which this issue occurs.

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

1 - To describe to students the contexts in the various countries of the European Union that give them the ba-sic information they need in order to embark on comparative studies of labour issues. - Students will be encouraged through supervised reading to work in the three following areas: - comparative economic and social geography in the countries of the European Union; - comparative political systems in countries of the European Union; - technology, work organisation and ergonomics. The seminar will aim to familiarise students with the key features of the world of work environment in European countries participating in the 'Master européen en Sciences du Travail'

The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.

Welcome to the fascinating world of work! And welcome to Europe!

Do all Europeans work similarly? Do the Austrians, Belgians, Finns, French, Greeks, Italians, Spaniard, Swedes, etc. work equally, with the same wages, with similar working time and with equivalent working conditions? The answer is, obviously, ‘no’. What are, then, the differences between the countries? Why do situations vary from one country to another?
This course will help you address these questions.


At the end of the course, you will be able to approach work-related issues in relation with specific national contexts, within the European Union.
you will have a first understanding of the relationships between national institutions, and in particular the political context and the system of industrial relations, in the regulation of employment relations.
You will also have acquired the capacity to consider a comparison between national situations, carefully and without preconceptions.


Each year, the course focuses on a new work-related topical issue, on which students are invited to work in small teams, with a view to understand how the issue is dealt with in different countries, and to analyse the role that the political context and industrial relations play in the regulation of employment relations.
Teaching methods

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the information in this section is particularly likely to change.

The course implies active participation of students.
Students will organize themselves into small teams of two or three.
They will choose a given country among the member States of the European Union. They will conduct a study of this country, present their findings in the class, and discuss with other teams and with the professor to identify commonalities and differences between countries.
Evaluation methods

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the information in this section is particularly likely to change.

The evaluation is divided in two parts:
  • Team presentations during the class (50%);
  • Final essay of maximum 6000 words, in English or in French, in which the team responds to the overall assignment (50%).
Other information
This course is part of a study programme that takes place in the evenings and on Saturday mornings
Online resources
All course material is on Moodle. See:
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Master [120] in Labour sciences (shift schedule)

Master [60] in Labour Sciences (shift schedule)

Master [120] in Human Resources Management