Course date

10 July - 21 July, 2000
Application deadline
15 February, 2000
Course Director(s): 

Csilla Kollonay-Lehoczky

Department of Legal Studies, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
Course Faculty: 

Miroslav Belina

Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic

Manfred Weiss

Law School, Frankfurt University, Germany

Marley Weiss

University of Maryland School of Law, Baltimore, United States of America
At the end of the century, trade unions find themselves functioning under entirely changed conditions. New patterns of labour undermine traditional solidarity and result in losses of membership. Globalisation of markets and capital, however, require new strategies based on international solidarity and concentration of forces. The challenges of the turn of the millennium are aggravated for labour unions of the ex-socialist countries by the struggle to regain credibility, and to rebuild structures, membership and contacts that have been lost in the course of the political and economic transition.
 
This Program will familiarise participants with the legal, economic, political and social situation of labour organisations in both East and West.  It will provide students with the opportunity to learn through legal comparison, through interdisciplinary analysis, as well as by sharing the fruits of each other's experience.
 
In spite of the significant differences in the historic and socio-economic background of the operation of employee organizations in the CEE and FSU region, numerous similarities can be discovered in the trends, cases and problems within the field of industrial relations between the post-socialist countries' and Western countries. These similarities may originate from shared substantive features or they may appear on the surface, deriving from the formal adoption of rules from the Western law books in many of the ex-socialist countries. This course will rely on comparative law and social science techniques to illuminate, in cooperation with SUN participants, the similarities and differences, distinguishing between those that are purely superficial (formal) and those with greater substance.
 
The aim of the course is to give participants insight into major trends regarding worker organisation and employee representation in the leading Western industrialized countries and into the analogous processes taking place during the last decade in the Central and East European region.  Prospects in each region for the near and medium term future will also be explored. The impact of these developments on workplace productivity, the operation of the economy as a whole, as well as on developing democratic institutions and substructures will also be a major focus of attention.
 
Beyond introducing Western models of contemporary trade unionism and workers' participation and confronting CEE experience with them, due attention will be paid to reveal common features of the struggle of the ex-socialist countries for free, democratic and efficient representation of employees: a unique and once-only experimental laboratory of the region. The course will analyse the reasons underlying the obvious deficit in workplace democracy in the transition economies, a deficit that is a conspicuous contrast to the considerable constitutional development and democratisation of political life in most of these countries.
 
A pedagogical methodology integrating theory and practice, one key element of which will be reliance upon the experience of the participants, will be the vehicle to expose reasons behind the conspicuous deficit in workplace democracy under the circumstances of the dramatic switch to democratic institution in political and social life with the CEE region.
 
Course level, target audience: 
The course is targeted at two different kinds of audience. Primarily it is aimed at attracting junior and middle career people from the labour law academia. It is open for post-graduate program (doctoral program) law students, too, including U.S. law students pursing the J.D. degree, who have completed substantial prior course work in the field of labour law. As a second resource group the course wants to draw participants on trade union officials, executives of industrial or regional confederations and other industrial relations practitioners having several years of experience with or without a law degree including experts working in state administration (ministries of labour affairs, labour market offices or other corresponding state agency).