• Projects



    International collaborative and ongoing research project.


    Funded by the Norwegian Research Council.


    The shipbuilding industry is often portrayed as the archetype of economic globalization. Faced with fierce global competition, especially from Asian producers, shipbuilding in Europe was believed to be a ‘sunset industry’. However, the 2004-2007 EU enlargements altered the choices set for shipyard employers. Companies in Northern European shipyards not only outsourced parts of their production to countries such as Poland and Romania, they also increasingly used (external) posted and agency labour in their ‘in-house’ production prompting labour market segmentation and more precarious types of contracts.

    More recently, rapid technological innovation and stricter emission requirements open up – once again – for new production and staffing strategies that might spur demand for more skilled labour. Yet, so far, we know little about the determinants and interactions between increases in cross-border production and staffing strategies in an enlarged European Single Market. Knowledge on the interaction between these processes is important because changes in staffing strategies not only change the terms under which workers are employed – be it via temporary agencies, subcontractors or via posted worker contracts – they also inherently destabilize nationally based industrial relations’ systems.


    PI: Ines Wagner




    International collaborative and ongoing research project.


    Funded by the Norwegian Research Council.


    Technological changes, e.g. within the fields of information and communication technology and robotics, and public policies alters the choice set of employers, and influence their decisions on how, where, when and what to produce. This project focuses on how and to what extent digitalisation impacts on the shifting boundaries and structure of the firm and on the shifts in the balance of power between employers and workers, and how this ultimately influences firms and workers. First, we address how technological change such as digitalisation may affect firms and their structure, and areas within the workplace, depending not only on the type of the firm, but also on the type of union presence within the sector or firm. Second, we address boundary shifts and changes in structure within the nation state, influencing inequality in the workplace. Third, we address boundary shifts and structure change outside the nation state affect workplace inequality and indivduals within the nation state.


    PI: Harald Dale-Olsen

    Qualitative work package leader: Ines Wagner




    Collaborative and ongoing research project with Mari Teigen.


    Funded by Fellesorganisasjonen.


    Norway is one of the leading countries when it comes to gender equality and has comparatively high levels of employee representation by trade unions. Yet, crucial challenges remain for an equal labor market. The Norwegian labor market is characterized by a gendered labor market. The female dominated public sector continuously earns less than male dominated industries in the private sector with comparable educational degrees. So far, we have little understanding of how the collective wage formation system in Norway, through the theoretical concept of corporatism, relates to the gendered labor market. This project aims to interrogate in how far trade unions have to balance their role as an actor towards a more gendered labor market and equally serve as organizations that traditionally serve a male industrial membership base. It aims to carve out the underlying reasons that can help us understand the relationship between corporatism and the pay gap between women and men in gender-segregated labor markets, such as Norway.


    PI: Ines Wagner




    Collaborative and ongoing research project.


    Funded by the Norwegian Ministry for Equality.


    Iceland is the country that is closest to gender equality in its society and economy across the world according to the Global Gender Gap ranking. The current government wants to further progress for full equality between genders with a new legislation. In 2018, Iceland introduced a mandatory certification process for companies and institutions with 25 employees, which, through this process, must prove that they pay men and women the same for the same job. This mechanism moves the burden of proof from employee to employer and forces companies to develop a more transparent system for the way they value different jobs. Based on qualitative in-depth interviews with key government informants, social partners and HR managers in Iceland, this project tales an initial look at how the Icelandic Equal Pay Standard was established and how it works in practice.






    Finished research project, led by Ines Wagner.


    Funded by a Røwdes Foundation grant.


    In principle, EU migrant workers have equal rights to social security throughout the EU. In effect, however, this is not the case: some are reportedly excluded from unemployment allowances, while others do not have access to family benefits. The aim of this project is to examine the experience of EU migrant workers, specifically those with irregular and insecure employment, with regard to accessing social security rights in other EU member states.





    Book published with Cornell University Press.


    This project reported on interviews with and participant observation of posted workers regarding how they experience the posting relationship, the mechanisms that enable access or denial to their rights, their ability to voice concerns over exploitative practices, and their interactions with institutions who should in theory enforce their rights.







  • Book

    Workers Without Borders: Posted Work and Precarity in the EU

    How the European Union handles posted workers is a growing issue for a region with borders that really are just lines on a map. A 2008 story, dissected in Ines Wagner’s Workers without Borders, about the troubling working conditions of migrant meat and construction workers, exposed a distressing dichotomy: how could a country with such strong employers’ associations and trade unions allow for the establishment and maintenance of such a precarious labor market segment?


    Workers without Borders concentrates on how local actors implement European rules and opportunities to analyze the balance of power induced by the EU around policy issues.


    The book examines the particularities of posted worker dynamics at the workplace level, in German meatpacking facilities and on construction sites, to reveal the problems and promises of European Union governance as regulating social justice. Using a bottom-up approach through in-depth interviews with posted migrant workers and administrators involved in the posting process, the book identifies structures of access and denial to labor rights for temporary intra-EU migrant workers and the problems contained within this system for the EU more broadly.


    Reviewed by Stephen Vallas in Social Forces


    Reviewed by Virginia Doellgast in Work & Occupations


    Reviewed by Caterina Francesca Guidi in Journal of Common Market Studies


    Reviewed by Markus Helfen in ILR Review




  • Publications


    Ines Wagner 2018. Workers Without Borders: Posted Work and Precarity in the EU. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.


    Ines Wagner. 2020. Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value: Iceland and the Equal Pay Standard. Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society.


    Martin Seeliger and Ines Wagner. 2018. "A socialization paradox: trade union policy cooperation in the case of the enforcement directive of the posting of workers directive". Socio-Economic Review.


    Ines Wagner and Bjarke Refslund. 2016. “Understanding the Converging Trajectories of German and Danish Labour Politics: a Power Relations Approach”. European Journal of Industrial Relations 22 (4): 335-351.


    Ines Wagner and Lisa Berntsen. 2016. “Restricted Rights: Obstacles in Enforcing Labour Rights of EU Mobile Workers in the German and Dutch Construction sectors”. Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research 22(2): 193-206.


    Ines Wagner. 2015. “Rule Enactment in a Pan-European Labour Market: Transnational Posted Work in the German Construction Sector”. British Journal of Industrial Relations 53 (4): 692-170.


    Ines Wagner. 2015."The Political Economy of Borders in a ‘Borderless’ European Labour Market". Journal of Common Market Studies 53 (6): 1195-1408.


    Ines Wagner. 2015. EU "Posted Work and Transnational Action in the German Meat Industry". Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research 21 (2): 201-213.


    Ines Wagner and Nathan Lillie. 2014. "European Integration and the Disembedding of Labour Market Regulation: Transnational Labour Relations at the European Central Bank Construction Site.“ Journal of Common Market Studies 52(2): 403-419.


    Erka Caro, Lisa Berntsen, Nathan Lillie and Ines Wagner. 2015.” Posted Migration and Segregation in the European Construction Sector.“ Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 41 (10): 1600-1620.

    Book chapters

    Ines Wagner and Karen Shire. 2019. "Labour Subcontracting in Cross-Border Labour Markets: A Comparison of Rule Evasion in Germany and Japan" in Jens Arnholtz and Nathan Lillie (eds.) Posted Work in the European Union: The Political Economy of Free Movement. Routledge.


    Nathan Lillie, Lisa Berntsen, Ines Wagner and Sonila Danaj. 2019. "A comparative analysis of union responses to posted work in four European countries" in in Jens Arnholtz and Nathan Lillie (eds.) Posted Work in the European Union: The Political Economy of Free Movement. Routledge.



    Bjarke Refslund and Ines Wagner. 2018. “Cutting to the Bone: Worker’s solidarity in the Danish-German slaughterhouse industry” in Doellgast, Virginia, Lillie, Nathan and Puglinani, Valeria (eds.) Restructuring Solidarity: Labour Unions, Precarious Work, and the Politics of Institutional Change in Europe. Oxford University Press


    Ines Wagner. 2018. “Trade Unions and migrant workers in Germany Unions between national and transnational Labour market segmentation” in Marino, Stefania, Penninx, Rinus and Roosblad Judith (eds.) Trade Unions and Migrant Workers: New Contexts and Challenges in Europe. Edward Elgar Publishing.

    Nathan Lillie and Ines Wagner. 2017. “Practicing European Industrial Citizenship: The Case of Labour Migration to Germany,” in Wiesner, Claudia, Bjork, Anna, Kivisto, Hanna-Mari, Makinen, Katja (eds.) Shaping Citizenship: A Political Concept in Theory, Debate and Practice. Routledge.


    Nathan Lillie and Ines Wagner. 2015. “Subcontracting, Insecurity and Posted Work” in Drahokoupil, Jan (ed.) Ousourcing Across Borders: Working Conditions an Organizing Strategies in Highly Fragmened Production Networks. Brussels: European Trade Union Institute.


    Nathan Lillie, Ines Wagner and Lisa Berntsen. 2014. “Posted Migration, Spaces of Exception and the Politics of Labour Relations in the European Cnstruction Industry” in Hauptmeier, Marco, Vidal, Matt (eds.) The Comparative Political Economy of Work and Employment Relations: 312-331. Palgrave Macmillan.


    Nathan Lillie, Erka Caro, Lisa Berntsen and Ines Wagner. 2013. “Migration and Mobility: Employment Relations and the Global Mobile Workforce” in Miguel Martinez-Lucio (ed.) International Human Resource Management: An Employment Relations Perspective: 220-238. London: SAGE.


    Ines Wagner and Nathan Lillie (2013) Institutionalismus und räumliche Desintegration in der vergleichenden Kapitalismusforschung: Arbeitsbeziehungen auf der Baustelle der Europäischen Zentralbank“ in Bruff, I., Ebenau, M., May, C. and Nölke, A. (eds.) Vergleichende Kapitalismusforschung: Stand, Perspektiven, Kritik , pp. 133-136. Münster: Westfälisches Dampfboot.

    Book Reviews

    “Labour and Transnational Action in Times of Crisis“ Edited by Andreas Bieler, Roland Erne, Darragh Golden, Idar Helle, Knut Kjeldstadli, Tiago Matos and Sabina Stan, Rowman and Littlefield, 2015, ILR Review 70 (1): 261-261, 2017.


    “Migrants at Work: Immigration and Vulnerability in Labour Law” Edited by Cathryn Costello and Mark Freedland, Oxford University Press, 2015. British Journal of Industrial Relations 54 (4): 883-884, 2016.


    “Town Twinning, Transnational Connections, and Trans-Local Citizenship Practices in Europe“ by Langenohl, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. Journal of Common Market Studies 54 (4): 1042, 2016.


    “EU Labour Migration in Troubled Times” by Galgoczi, B. Leschke, J. and Watt, A. (eds.). Journal of Common Market Studies 51 (5) p. 987, 2013.


    “Global Restructuring, Labour and the Challenges for Transnational Solidarity” by Bieler, A, and Lindberg, I. (eds.). British Journal of Industrial Relations 50 (2) pp. 378-380, 2012.

    Policy Reports

    Ines Wagner. 2017. Changing rules, changing practices? The case of the German meat industry. Report for the project “Protecting Mobility through Improving Labour Rights Enforcement in Europe (PROMO)”, VS/2016/0222. “EaSI” (2014-2020).


    Karen Jaehrling, Claudia Weinkopf and Ines Wagner (with Gerhard Bosch and Thorsten Kalina) 2016. Reducing Precarious Work in Europe through Social Dialogue: the Case of Germany, Report for the European Commission, Institute of Work, Skills and Training, University of Duisburg-Essen, pp.129.


    Ines Wagner (2015) “Die Umsetzung des Minimumloon in den Niederlanden” in Schulten, T. and Böhlke, N. (Hrs.) Umsetzung und Kontrolle von Mindestlöhnen: Europäische Erfahrungen und was Deutschland von ihnen lernen kann, study for Gesellschaft für Innovationsforschung und Beratung.


    Ines Wagner (2015) “The Enforcement Directive of the Posting of Workers Directive”. Study for the Multicultural Center Prague.

  • Media: articles, interviews, reviews

    Ines Wagner. 2021. How Iceland is Closing the Gender Wage Gap. Harvard Business Review January 08 2021.


    The Icelandic Secret, November 8th 2020, Les Glorieuses.


    Ines Wagner. 2019. Why freedom of movement is causing divisions - across Europe. The guardian. 16 January 2019.



  • Contact

    Institute for Social Research Oslo

    Munthes gate 31

    0260 Oslo