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    Trade union membership and power in comparative perspective

    Kelly, John (2015) Trade union membership and power in comparative perspective. The Economic and Labour Relations Review 26 (4), pp. 526-544. ISSN 1035-3046.

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    The trade union movement around the world remains in the throes of a prolonged and deep decline, whether measured by membership and density, bargaining power in relation to employers or political influence over the ubiquitous neoliberal narrative that underpins the policies of many governments. Decline has not been arrested or reversed by the many strategic initiatives undertaken in recent years such as organising campaigns or coalition building, although it is possible that the state of the unions would be even more parlous if these initiatives had not been pursued. Against this bleak backcloth, there are some positive signs: unions representing specific occupations, such as school teachers, nurses and airline pilots, have retained high levels of density; and union confederations in many parts of Europe have launched successful general strikes against unpopular government reforms to pensions and welfare benefits. Unions need to position themselves as agencies that can help deal with the growing problems of wage stagnation, low wages, income inequality and insufficient economic demand. That in turn requires a coherent challenge to the dominant neoliberal narrative.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Collective bargaining, cross-country comparison, income distribution, industrial relations, neoliberalism, social justice, trade unions
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Business and Law > Birkbeck Business School
    Research Centres and Institutes: Birkbeck Centre for British Political Life
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2015 11:01
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:19


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