Labour context in Europe

ltrav2700  2022-2023  Louvain-la-Neuve

Labour context in Europe
5.00 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.
Learning outcomes

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'

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

Our world of work is increasingly international and European. There are many examples of cross-national interdependencies that affect the world of work: the war in Ukraine, climate change, or digitalisation, for instance, are global issues that have an impact on employment, on wages, on working conditions.
In such an internationalized or globalised context, 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 or with equivalent working conditions? What are the similarities and differences between countries? To what extent do situations vary from one country to another? If they do, why? And, by the way, is it possible to compare countries? If yes, how to proceed?
In this course, you will address these questions.


The course intends to develop your comparative skills. With comparative skills, you will be able to interpret what happens in different countries, and to act in a relevant way in international contexts.
In practice, at the end of the course, you will be able to conduct a comparative study on work-related issues, paying attention to the object of the comparison, to the methods, and to sources. Looking at two different member states of the European Union, you will be able to compare national situations, carefully and without preconceptions.
More precisely, you will be able to:
  1. Delineate a work-related topic (of interest for you…)
  2. Find relevant information and data on this topic in two European countries of your choice;
  3. Compare countries, that is to identify similarities and differences between countries;
  4. Explain similarities and differences.
Doing so, you will acquire 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.
Teaching methods
The course requires your active participation.
You will organize into small teams of two or three students.
Your team will choose two member States of the European Union. You will conduct a comparative study of these countries, present your findings in the class, and discuss with other teams and with myself to build your comparison of countries. Each team will have to deliver several presentations in the class, and will benefit from other teams’ presentations.
Evaluation methods
The evaluation is composed of three parts:
  • Two team presentations in the classroom:
    • Each presentation = 25% of the final mark.
    • The two presentations will feed the content of the written essay.
  • A written essay:
    • The essay will present the overall analysis.
    • Final essay = 50% of the final mark.
Other information
This course is part of a study programme that takes place in the evenings and on Saturday mornings
Online resources
The course website on Moodle provides a lot of information and resources. However, participation in the class and in the group sessions is necessary to attain the course objectives.
Faculty or entity

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

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

Master [60] in Labour Sciences (shift schedule)

Master [120] in Human Resources Management