The first case is that of the jurisdictional space. Recourse to a judge is one of the conditions of effective access to rights recognised by law. Of course, disputes and litigation are traditional topics of study and research among legal experts. The focus here will be more particularly on a comparative analysis of case law concerning the fundamental elements of labour law. How is discrimination within employment and access to social services dealt with in different countries? How is the question of the reparation of damage caused in the context of an employment relationship addressed before certain foreign courts? The COMPTRASEC team intends to use all its internal and external resources to assemble the material relevant to this type of analysis. Moreover, there will be a particular focus on disputes bringing international jurisdictions into play. Such disputes are increasingly frequent today and are proving to be ever more complex, as a result of which judges often find themselves in a position of establishing the law. Certain team members’ knowledge specific to private international labour law will be made use of in order to reveal the major trends in this area.
Spaces of negotiation and social dialogue on a national, European and international level will then be considered. While some forms of negotiation and dialogue today seem well “established” and stable within the legal system, the emergence of new questions and conflicts must be noted. New collective actors are appearing in various contexts, questioning the legitimacy of traditional trades union organisations in the representation of interests and in the field of legal regulation.
On a European level, alongside the admittedly very consensual social dialogue, a form of civil dialogue is now emerging, conducted with other stakeholders in society than just employer and trades union organisations. The function of these bodies, or spaces of confrontation, must be examined, as must the legitimacy and representativeness of the stakeholders in them.
Lastly, work is planned on a specific stakeholder in regulation in labour law, which is to say the labour administration and inspectorate. Within the general context mentioned above of the weakening of the welfare State, are we seeing a reduction in the prerogatives and/or changes in fields and modes of intervention of the labour administration? Paradoxically, while the EU is generally suspected of favouring economies and enterprises over the social domain and workers’ interests, it is today calling for a reinforcement of the control powers of labour inspectorates and a strengthening of cross-border cooperation, in certain cases at least (see the secondment of workers in the context of service provisions).
Undeniably, the perception of the place of the labour inspectorate is under the combined influence of two factors. The first is well-known and often evoked: it concerns changes in the system of production. The second is mentioned less often and is related to modifications in the forms of administrative action. In addition, the European framework and the administrative cooperation it brings about offer the opportunity to compare “general” and “specialised” labour inspectorate models. Furthermore, the implementation of international labour standards on the subject (C. 81, 129, 150 etc.) within spaces affected by economic integration projects (such as the West African Economic and Monetary Union) or even legal integration projects (such as OHADA), constitutes another field of comparative research, not to mention spaces undergoing a shift towards less formal employment relationships and tending to reject action and innovation in labour administration and inspection practices in developing countries. The team will address all these questions in order to explore and develop knowledge, in particular by using its already close links with the professional world, as well as the Centre’s international network.