Trade Unions in Western Europe: Hard Times, Hard Choices

Trade Unions in Western Europe: Hard Times, Hard Choices

By: Richard Hyman (author), Rebecca Gumbrell-McCormick (author)Paperback

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Description

Trade unions in most of Europe are on the defensive: in recent decades they have lost membership, sometimes drastically; their collective bargaining power has declined, as has their influence on government; and in many countries, their public respect is much diminished. This book explores the challenges facing trade unions and their responses in ten west European countries: Britain, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Italy. Based on a substantial number of interviews with key union representatives and academic experts in each country, together with the collection of a large amount of union documentation and background material, the book gives an account of how trade unionism has evolved in each country, the main recent challenges that unions have faced, and their responses. The book engages with the debates of the past two decades on union modernization and revitalization, and more generally with theories of institutional change and the literature on varieties of capitalism. Some observers ask whether unions remain relevant socio-economic actors, but challenging times can stimulate new thinking, and hence provide new opportunities. This book aims to show why trade unions are (still) important subjects for scientific analysis: first, as a means of collective 'voice' allowing employees to challenge management control and bringing a measure of balance to the employment relationship; second, as a form of 'countervailing power' to the socio-economic dominance of capital; and third, their potential as a 'sword of justice' to defend the weak, vulnerable and disadvantaged, express a set of values in opposition to the dominant political economy, and offer aspirations for a different-and better-form of society.

About Author

Rebecca Gumbrell-McCormick is a former international trade union official. Since obtaining her PhD at the University of Warwick she has been teaching at Birkbeck College. She is one of the world authorities on international trade unionism, and her work has been cited by scholars and practitioners in many countries. She is Board Member and European Regional Representative for the Research Committee on Labour Movements, International Sociological Association. Richard Hyman, formerly at the University of Warwick, is Emeritus Professor of Industrial Relations at the London School of Economics and founding editor of the European Journal of Industrial Relations. He has written extensively on the themes of industrial relations, trade unionism, industrial conflict and labour market policy, and is author of a dozen books as well as numerous journal articles and book chapters. His comparative study Understanding European Trade Unionism: Between Market, Class, and Society (Sage, 2001) is widely cited by scholars working in this field.

Contents

1: Mapping the Terrain: Varieties of Industrial Relations and Trade Unionism 2: Hard Times: Challenges and Responses 3: Renewing Power Resources: Recruitment, Representation and Mobilization 4: Restructuring Trade Unionism: Mergers and Organizational Redesign 5: Bargaining in Adversity: Decentralization, Social Partnership and the Crisis 6: Unions and Politics: Parties, Alliances and the Battle of Ideas 7: Beyond National Boundaries: Unions, Europe and the World 8: Hard Choices: Reconciling Strategy and Democracy Afterword

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780198816782
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 280
  • ID: 9780198816782
  • weight: 456
  • ISBN10: 0198816782

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