The employment relationship and new trends in EU and international labour law

AutoreNiklas Bruun
The employment relationship and new trends in EU and
international labour law
N B
1. Background.
I have had the pleasure and privilege to collaborate with my friend Bruno
Veneziani during many years. One of our common projects in which Bruno
together with Bob Hepple were in the driving seat resulted in the book “The
Transformation of Labour Law in Europe. A Comparative Study of 15 Countries
1945-2004” which was published in 2009 (H-V eds., 2009).
In this book Bruno undertook to study the evolution of the employment re-
lationship in Europe. Bruno summarizes in an elegant way the roots of the em-
ployment relationship in the big European jurisdictions. He describes how the
binary notion of the employment relationship grew out of a series of profound
economic, political, social and legal changes that took place in the European
continent from the eighteenth century onwards and how the social legislation
of the welfare states later on in many countries has expanded to cover all pro-
fessional categories of workers. He also describes the different deviations of
the standard contract for an employment relationship (the open ended contract
entered into with the employer for work in the rm owned by the employer). He
distinguishes between ve deviations that developed especially during the 80s:
The duration of the contract (xed term), the duration of the work (part-time),
the personal availability of work (on call work and other forms), the triangular
relationship (temporary work agencies) and work place deviation (home-work
and telework).
All these developments have lead to a segmentation of the workforce and a
exible labour market where we have different atypical employment relation-
ships which do not offer any strong protection for the employees.
Bruno identies a long lasting trend in his study and he also has an answer or
a solution to the evolution towards segmentation and lack of protection regard-
ing certain groups of employees. He writes that the “risk is the deeper separation
between standard employment relations and marginal personal work relations
that could be projected towards grey and peripheral zones of the law or towards
an area outside the law affecting the whole civil society”. And he continues that
the trends he has described have resulted in demands for a more stable and solid
bulk of principles and a oor of fundamental rights that preserve the individual
contract of employment from deteriorating its true protective mission. Here he

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