Bargained Equality: The Strengths and Weaknesses of Workplace Gender Equality Agreements and Plans in France

Susan Milner, Hélène Demilly, Sophie Pochic

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10 Citations (SciVal)


‘Bargained equality’ reflects wider characteristics of French employment relations whereby state-driven collective bargaining is a major mode of regulation but is based on weak workplace bargaining cultures outside the largest firms. This article focuses on duties on French employers to bargain on gender equality. It presents findings of a project evaluating workplace agreements and plans on gender equality, based on a sample of 186 agreements submitted in 2014–2015, in 10 sectors, and in-depth interviews in 20 companies. Despite a rise in formal compliance due to stronger enforcement since 2012, our analysis shows that most companies submitting plans or agreements do not systematically address quantitative measurement of pay or other gender gaps. As well as sectoral differences, the analysis also identifies ‘generational effects’: processes of change which occur as collective agreements expire and are replaced are dependent on local dynamics of bargaining. Based on this analysis, we argue that attention should be paid to the resources available to local bargaining actors, in order to promote an equality agenda.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-301
Number of pages27
JournalBritish Journal of Industrial Relations
Issue number2
Early online date9 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Business,Management and Accounting
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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