This book considers the role of both wages and unions in economic theory, asking whether wages are merely a mechanical outcome of the economic process or are they a political variable subject to influence by organised labour? The author moves on to consider the changing concepts put forward by European trade unions themselves in support of their pay strategies and wage claims, and in particular the concept of a 'solidaristic wage policy'. Schulten also examines the outcomes of such concepts: the division of income between labour and capital and that between different categories of workers. Identifying from the way these outcomes have changed over time a crisis in trade union theory and practice, the author considers recent developments in European collective bargaining and union interaction with employers and the state (corporatism). He concludes with ideas about how European trade unions can pursue strategies that will enable them once again to regain the initiative in terms of collective bargaining on wages.
Introduction Part 1: Political Economy of Wages and the Trade Unions 1. The Classical School: Subsistence and Wages Fund Theories of Wages 2. Marxism: The Law of Wages and the Politics of Wages 3. The Neo-Classicals: The General Equilibrium Wage and the Political Wage of Neo-Liberalism 4. Keynesianism: Political Nominal and Economic Real Wages Part 2: Trade Union Wages Policy in Europe 5. Trade Union Conceptions of a Solidaristic Wages Policy 6. Political and Institutional Prerequisites for Trade Union Wages Policy 7. Development of Wages and Income Distribution between Capital and Labour 8. Development of the Wage Structure and 'Distribution within the Class' 9. The Crisis of Trade Union Pay Bargaining Strategies 10. The Reorganisation of Industrial Relations in the European Multi-Level System 11. Trade Union Collective Bargaining Coordination in Europe 12. Reconstructing Solidaristic Wages Policies in Europe: Prospects and Obstacles