In contrast to France, Sweden is more deep rooted in its underlying belief of social economy and have been so since the demand of the ‘8 hours of work, 8 hours of free time, and 8 hours and sleep’ in 1890 (Eaton, 2000). The country had been highly socialised, highly unionised, highly centralised, and linked with political social democratic party. The country has undergone some change and have liberalised the link with political parties, undergone decentralisation, and the number of unions have also decreased while employers’ organisations have remained stable. The Federation of Swedish Industry was merged with the Swedish Employers Federation was formed in 2001 and was termed as Confederation of Swedish Enterprise. This enterprise had more lobbying activity with the state and the central government including the EU and less of negotiations. The employment relations are very stable and cover almost 80% of the market unlike France which is less in its coverage. Extensive rights to employee unions in Sweden is a very strong support for the workers, whereas France has very low ratio of employee union rights as it intervenes more as an employer (Kieffer and Jenkins, 2002). The state’s role in Sweden is to ensure full employment and maintain economic growth, unlike France which leaves employment issues to external factors. Sweden with its power of cross-class alignment made the blue and white collar jobs closer and having larger coordination, whereas France has more disparity in its employment sections. Sweden has few segmented sectors making it easier for managing the employment relations and has general cultural homogeneity with a strong emphasis on the development and improvement of equality. The country did not participate in any of the world wars and this has had economic benefits of treasuries. The corporatism context in Sweden consists of a centralised bargaining between labour and capital over some key elements of economic policy. The solidarity wage policy was brought in Sweden which boosted productivity, wages, equality, very low unemployment numbers, and has negligible conflict between industries and unions (Bordogna and Pedersini, 2013). France on the other hand more strikes than Sweden as it tried to intervene at state level in multiple corporate decisions. However, there has grown employer resistance for growth of industrial and political demand, and the number of manufacturing workers has declined with the rise of white collar jobs creating a rift in the union. Thus, Sweden, though less impacted due to the international crisis of 2009, but it has an unemployment level of 8-9% and the unions remain strong and popular though the new generation is not keen on getting involved.
State plays a major role in the development and sustenance of employment relations and the strength of the relation determine the outcome and output in the economy. It makes laws to be followed by the employer and employees and ensures an environment which is conducive to growth and prosperity. France has been a mixture of both positive and negative state in terms of the profitability of the outcome it created with its internal laws. It is more interventionist in nature, has a weak legal structure and changes laws frequently. Sweden is more socially grounded and has a strong preference for equality in wages and in rights. France has been more active in the international context and has invited investments to a good scale where Sweden has tried to be more self-sufficient and maintained very strong employment relations covering almost 80% of the workforce. The two countries have a different approach to the use of states in their employment relations which depends on their historical background and the changing ideologies of political parties. France has been both growing its corporate structure but the unions are declining fast, and Sweden is reserved with its policies concerning equality, equal wage distribution, and maintaining strong unions for sustenance of its tag as a social democracy.
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