In developing its activities, the CERT has adopted two complementary approaches.

A wide-angle approach to "industrial relations"

First and foremost, this views the legal relations between employer and employee in all their diversity. Not only are private employment law contracts taken into account, but also other forms of employment, such as temporary work, “economically dependent work”, employment relations between a public administration office and its employees, work on the black market, and so on.

For example, one of the most topical issues is the emergence of atypical industrial relations dubbed “sui generis work” or “economically dependent work”, giving rise to numerous legal problems. The EU and many of its member states have started rethinking or reforming the governance of these service providers, who find themselves in a “grey area” between labour law and commercial or agency law.

The deregulation of certain state activities and, from time to time, their privatisation — or, at least, their devolution to decentralised institutions — raises a host of relatively new questions, regarding for instance the legal nature of industrial relations and, notably, the application of general principles of public law.

Finally, and more generally, the greater or lesser existence of the peripheral, so-called “informal” economy — with all the uncertainties implied by this term — comprising the black market, “precarious jobs”, and various other kinds of industrial relations, has drawn the attention of the academic world and institutional bodies (such as those charged with collecting social security contributions)  to the diversification of industrial relations.


A “transdisciplinary” approach: private law and public employment law

The CERT’s approach also aims to be “transdisciplinary”, insofar as it seeks to consider industrial relations in the light of the regulations of both public, and private, law. Effectively, labour law provides the ideal setting for studying the growing interaction and interdependence between public and private law.

The research topics in this field are myriad. One question of particular interest concerns the increasing convergence of the domains of private law and public law (that is, public service). With increasing frequency, these domains are experiencing a form of osmosis, be it in the “privatisation” of the public law domain (as a result of the gradual abandonment of “public servant status”, and, in new legislation, the intrusion of the contract and the [supplemental] application of private law), or conversely the “socialisation” — that is, transfer into the public sphere — of the domain of private law (for instance, the intrusion of constitutional concepts and principles [such as proportionality or fundamental rights] into the employment contract law).