Barbu, Vlad; Iordache, Ionuț; Adrian-Călin, Cuculis; Naciu Costin, Mergeane (2023), The Role of the State in Labour Relations, Cunoașterea Științifică, 2:1, 120-126, DOI: 10.58679/CS30192, https://www.cunoasterea.ro/the-role-of-the-state-in-labour-relations/
Through this work, a brief analysis of the role of the state in labor relations was intended to be carried out. The state is not strictly speaking a single actor, but is composed of numerous different agencies, each with its own distinct goal and function. As a result, separating the political, economic, and judicial roles may be somewhat arbitrary. In reality, the state is more of an “open system” rather than a single or uniform party. The term “state” is an acceptable abbreviation to capture the interactions of all institutions and agencies that carry out the government’s will. It is important to understand that the state feels obliged to involve itself in labor relations through certain roles it holds, and to understand that it has an impact on the socio-economic aspect of a country.
Keywords: concept of state, labor relations, principles of work
Rolul statului în relațiile de muncă
Prin această lucrare s-a dorit să se realizeze o scurtă analiză a rolului statului în relațiile de muncă. Statul nu este, strict vorbind, un singur actor, ci este compus din numeroase agenții diferite, fiecare cu scopul și funcția sa distinctă. Ca urmare, separarea rolurilor politice, economice și judiciare poate fi oarecum arbitrară. În realitate, statul este mai degrabă un „sistem deschis” decât un partid unic sau uniform. Termenul „stat” este o abreviere acceptabilă pentru a capta interacțiunile tuturor instituțiilor și agențiilor care duc la îndeplinire voința guvernului. Este important să înțelegem că statul se simte obligat să se implice în relațiile de muncă prin anumite roluri pe care le deține și să înțeleagă că are un impact asupra aspectului socio-economic al unei țări.
Cuvinte cheie: conceptul de stat, relațiile de muncă, principiile muncii
CUNOAȘTEREA ȘTIINȚIFICĂ, Volumul 2, Numărul 1, Martie 2023, pp. 120-126
ISSN 2821 – 8086, ISSN – L 2821 – 8086, DOI: 10.58679/CS30192
© 2023 Vlad Barbu, Ionuț Iordache, Cuculis Adrian-Călin, Mergeane Naciu Costin. Responsabilitatea conținutului, interpretărilor și opiniilor exprimate revine exclusiv autorilor.
The Role of the State in Labour Relations
Vlad Barbu, Ionuț Iordache, Cuculis Adrian-Călin, Mergeane Naciu Costin
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“If you want a man to devote his time and energy to his work, pay him a wage that takes care of his financial worries.” (Henry Ford, Ford Motor Company)
Respect for work relationships is highly valued in our society, yet, in a practical sense, the concept of work has greatly influenced the formation of our legal conventions. Also, when talking about work relationships, we view them as a concept that underlies our social and legal norms. A more concrete context of work relationships, from which legal rules can be generated, can be constructed if we consider the role of the state in relation to them.
THE CONCEPT OF STATE AND ITS DEVELOPMENT
A state is a policy within a system of governance. There is no undisputed definition of a state. A widely used definition by German sociologist Max Weber is that, “the state is an entity that maintains a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence, although other definitions are not uncommon”.
The first states emerged about 5,500 years ago, in tandem with the fast growth of cities, the invention of writing, and the codification of new forms of religion. There have been a variety of forms of state over time, each justified in different ways, such as divine right, the social contract theory, etc. Today, the modern nation-state is the dominant form of state that people are subject to.
According to Ulpian, “Public law is what relates to the status of the Roman state; private law is what relates to the advantage of individuals”. Although Ulpian considered at that time that norms could reflect individual interests, Professor Emil Molcuț notes that all legal norms aim at general interests, not individual ones. Thus, even in the Roman period, public law regulated the relationships that were established regarding the organization of the state, as well as the relationships between. According to Professor Molcuț: “When the modern codes were adopted, the lawmakers of Cuza directly addressed the classical texts of Roman law, from which they extracted all the concepts, categories, principles, and institutions that were necessary. This solution was possible because the lawmakers of Cuza found in Roman law, already well-developed, all the concepts that were needed to regulate the legal relations in the newly created national Romanian state, concepts that they adopted in a pure form, without adaptations. Thus, the Civil Code of 1864 is still in force today and is applied successfully, which proves the exceptional vitality of Roman law.”
The word “state” and its related terms in other European languages ultimately derive from the Latin word “status,” meaning “condition, circumstances.” The first forms of the state emerged whenever it was possible to centralize power in a lasting way. Looking back in history, people lived in stateless societies, lacking a centralized system of authority, built on the absence of significant disparities in economic and political power.
The anthropologist Tim Ingold states that “It is not enough to observe, in an anthropologically now rather dated language, that people live in ‘stateless societies’, as if their social life was somehow lacking or unfinished, waiting to be completed by the evolutionary development of a state apparatus. Rather, the principle of their sociality, as Pierre Clastres has said, is fundamentally against the state.”
Although forms of the state existed before the emergence of the ancient Greek empire, the Greeks were the first known people to formulate an explicit philosophy of the state and to rationally analyze political institutions. From the absolutist period, states have been largely organized nationally, with the state having the role of promoting nationalism by emphasizing common symbols and national identity.
THE ROLE OF WORK AND ITS PRINCIPLES
Work, in a first definition, “is an activity that creates material and spiritual values and is inextricably linked to human life.”
According to Valer Dorneanu, “A person has connections to labor law from birth, as a recipient of social benefits, they encounter it in the process of education, training, and professional preparation. It becomes the main subject of labor law during their entire working life, whether as an employee or a public servant, or as an employer. The relationship with this discipline does not break even towards the end of their existence, as a retiree.”
Economists O. Giarini and P. Liedtke define work as “an agreement between human beings and their environment for the primary purpose of self-preservation”
The status of work in contemporary societies is the result of a long historical process. It is not just an indispensable means of enhancing individual senses of utility and belonging, but also of providing financial means. Work is also central in several other dimensions, including its role as a mechanism of socialization, as a source of social exchanges and individual identities. Thus, work can be seen as a pillar of social organization, and to a large extent, as an important pillar of individuals’ existential organization. It is a fundamental characteristic in many dimensions of social integration, such as health, housing, and interpersonal networks.
Therefore, based on the above definitions, we will detail some important aspects related to the role of work on a personal level, as well as in relation to the state:
- For individuals, work is an important factor in shaping: personal and social identity; social and family connections; ways to earn money and therefore access essential and non-essential goods, services and activities; daily routine; level of activity; physical and mental well-being; self-confidence and self-esteem; a sense of self-worth that comes from the feeling of contributing to society or the common good;
- For the state, work is an important factor in: promoting community cohesion and safety; increasing civic participation; reducing public spending in a range of social descisions (provided, of course, that the work is carried out in a decent paying job); promoting social and economic development; organizing social life at the macro level;
Furthermore, it is imperative to note that any system is governed by fundamental principles, which apply to each branch of law, including when discussing employment relationships. The principles of labor law are enshrined in Law 53/2003 – the Labor Code, in articles 3-9. Without intending to carry out an in-depth analysis of these, we will mention the most important ones :
- The principle of freedom of work;
- Prohibition of forced labour;
- Principle of non-discrimination. Equality of treatment;
- Social protection of employees;
- Freedom of association;
- The principle of good faith and consensus in labour relations;
- The principle of free movement of Romanian citizens on the labour market in the European Union and other countries.
THE ROLE OF THE STATE IN LABOUR RELATIONS
Considering the extent of political influence and power, one of the first descriptions of the state was given by Weber: “all government institutions that hold a monopoly on the legitimate use of force.” However, in today’s terms, when it comes to employment relations, “the state” is typically considered to be the elected government of the day, along with all other agencies that carry out its will and enforce its policies and legislation.
However, the pace of state intervention has significantly accelerated since the end of World War II, first in the 1960s and 1970s and then again in the 1980s; further interventions by the state in the new millennium have changed the landscape of employment relations even more. As a result, it is now probably correct to say that individual labor laws, rather than voluntary collective bargaining contracts, regulate working conditions, which have had a huge impact on the behavior of managers, unions, and employees.
In general terms, it is often motivated that the state’s objective of intervening in employment relations is to achieve economic and social objectives for the nation as a whole. One of the main tasks of the Government is to manage the economy in such a way that it is prosperous, and this means that it must achieve four general policy objectives, each of which can easily conflict with others:
- maintain a high level of employment;
- ensure price stability;
- maintain a balance of payments surplus;
- protect the exchange rate.
Additionally, based on these, the State plays a key role in ensuring adequate conditions in the labor market:
To provide the employer with an adequate and efficient system and tools for organizing and managing the employees’ work;
To maintain high levels of employment in the market.
The State is an important political actor in the labor relationship, holding the following necessary and important positions in ensuring good working conditions:
- The State as a decision-maker and legislator;
- The State as an arbitrator in labor conflicts;
- The State as an inspector of labor relations;
- The State as an employer in the public sector;
- The State as a partner in tripartite negotiations.
Although each of these are evident aspects and applicable in most countries, the importance and depth of each aspect and role will vary over time and will depend on the predominant political values of a particular government of the day.
Work is still a centrepiece in our societies and a crucial factor in the social integration of vulnerable groups.
Obviously, the state is limited in its ability to intervene in the labour market. We do not want to suggest otherwise. Labour law is probably a large part of law that is made by non-state actors. State intervention in labour relations differs, given the massive changes in the new economy, which are social, economic, political and technological.
These transformative phenomena alter the status, nature of work and the law itself. New players, including multinational corporations and non-governmental organisations, are fighting the state as regulators. A multitude of rules emerge from the state itself. In the face of such legal pluralism, we do not attribute to the state the role of finally clarifying the grey area. Nevertheless, our analysis highlights the vitality of a repertoire of actions available to the state, with which it acts as an institutional entrepreneur in the labour market.
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- A se vedea documentul online disponibil la adresa https://journals.openedition.org/interventionseconomiques/3555.
 Bottomore T.B., The State. A Dictionary of Marxist thought (2nd ed.). Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-0-631-18082-1, 1991, pp. 5-10.
 Molcuț E., Drept roman, suport de curs, p. 17, disponibil la adresa http://file.ucdc.ro/cursuri/D_1_N13_Drept_roman_Molcut_Emil.pdf.
 Breuilly John, Nationalism and the State Archived 1 May 2016 at the Wayback Machine, New York: St. Martin’s Press, ISBN 0-7190-3800-6, 1993, pp. 42-60.
 Ghimpu Sanda, Ștefănescu Ion, Beligrădean Ștefan, Mocanu Gheorghe, Dreptul muncii. Tratat, volumul I, Editura Științifică și Enciclopedică, București, 1978, pp. 7-10.
 Dorneanu Valer, Dreptul muncii. Partea generală, Editura Universul Juridic, București, 2012, p. 5.
 Giarini O., Liedtke P.M., Dilema ocupării forţei de muncă şi viitorul muncii, Editura All Beck, Bucureşti, 2001, p. 31.
 A se vedea documentul disponibil online la adresa https://www.industryweek.com/talent/labor-employment-policy/article/21957666/the-importance-or-nonimportance-of-righttowork-in-location-decisions.
 Boroi Gabriel, Anghelescu Carla Alexandra, Curs de drept civil. Partea generală, Ediția a II-a, Editura Hamangiu, 2012, p. 4.
 Roș Nicolae, Dreptul muncii. Curs universitar, Editura Pro universitaria, București, 2017, pp. 34-45.
 Hyman R.,Understanding European Trade Unionism: Between Market, Class and Society, Sage, London, 2001, pp. 15-45.
A se vedea documentul online disponibil la adresa https://journals.openedition.org/interventionseconomiques/3555.
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