European Trade Unions in the 21st Century. The Future of Solidarity and Workplace Democracy

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Publication Date 2022
ISBN 978-3-030-88285-3
ISSN 2633-5972
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Trade unions in Europe face a range of cross-cutting challenges. This includes the near-universal contraction in union membership; the related decline of traditionally highly unionised blue-collar industries; and the rise of automation, microprocessing, and digitalisation, which can make it cheaper for employers to invest in machines than to pay humans to work. The breakdown of the standard contract of employment and increasing rates of precarious work have further transformed the world of work. Taken together, this makes any collectivist vision of society, and the notion of solidarity upon which trade unionism is built, difficult to sustain.

All this raises tough questions for trade unionists, policy-makers, and researchers alike regarding the future of trade unions, the oldest and largest civil society movement in Europe. The contributions in this volume explore the prospects for union revival across a range of cases, including by focusing on the pursuit of legal remedies and on the opportunities associated with the network society to defend the interests of workers.

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction: European Trade Unions in the Twenty-First Century | Barry Colfer & Thomas Prosser
  2. The Right to Collective Bargaining for Economically Dependent Workers with a Self-Employed Status | Pieter Pecinovsky
  3. The European Court of Justice and Trade Union Power in Europe | Lorenzo Cecchetti
  4. Trade Unions and Migration in Europe | Rolle Alho
  5. Confronting a Moral Abyss: Unions and the Role of Law in the France Télécom Case | Julia López López
  6. The Renewal of Trade Unionism in France? | Dominique Andolfatto & Dominique Labbé
  7. France: Macron’s Orders and Trade Union Power in the Field of Health at Work | Sylvie Contrepois
  8. Organised Labour and Fluid Organisations: Insights from the Gilets Jaunes Movement | Barry Colfer & Yoann Bazin
  9. The Decline of the Czech Trade Union Movement | Martin Štefko
  10. Trade Union Participation and New Forms of Collective Action: Pension Reform in Spain as a Case Study | Eusebi Colàs-Neila
  11. Danish Trade Unions and Young People: Using Media in the Battle for Hearts and Minds | Torsten Geelan
  12. German Trade Unions and The EU Minimum Wage Debate: Between National Elite and Transnational Working Class | Mona Aranea
  13. Workplace Democracy in the UK: Reviving Voice Institutions in Unpromising Times? | David Coats
  14. Polish Unions Towards Populism: Strategies and Dilemmas | Jan Czarzasty & Adam Rogalewski
  15. Conclusion: Multiple Challenges Confronting European Trade Unions | Richard Hyman


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