Trade Unions Under the Pressure of European Integration. a Question of Optimism and Pessimism?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Gilbert Scott Building - G466 (University of Glasgow)
Johannes Kiess , University of Siegen
Martin Seeliger , Friedrich Schiller University Jena
The Great Recession has brought new attention to structural problems of the European Integration process and specifically monetary integration, holding the potential of disabling any transnational coordination. Other authors argue that the current crisis also poses the chance for mobilization and new impulses for European trade unionism. While one camp is in general positive and optimistic about European integration and eventually calls for deeper integration, the other one is a lot more pessimistic and occasionally even sees the characteristics of European Monetary Union as principal obstacles for social and just development in Europe.

What both accounts and most scholars share, however, is the observation of an ongoing deep restructuring of the economic and social space in which trade unions act. While the importance of the question of how trade unionism and wage policy can, will, and should develop under the conditions of European integration seems widely shared, the polarization of the debate itself deserves our attention in order to learn about the opposing arguments and points of view and to enhance academic discussion as well as consultancy to policy makers.

This paper addresses this debate by discussing key arguments and searching for common ground as well as a new perspective on European trade unionism and collective bargaining. On the basis of a literature review and various research projects, we aspire a conceptual synthesis on how to inquire the prospects of European trade unionism.

  • CES-2017-Kiess-Seeliger.docx (76.6 kB)