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8 April 2016

Trade unions in central and eastern Europe: innovation against all odds

trade union innovations meeting 2016

Trade unions in central and eastern (CEE) Europe are using new approaches to attract workers and address broader societal concerns. A project with ETUI involvement takes stock of these innovative techniques.

The second meeting for this project ‘Beyond the crisis: Innovative practices within CEE trade union movements’ took place on 30 and 31 March 2016 in Bratislava, Slovakia.

The project, jointly coordinated by Magdalena Bernaciak (ETUI) and Marta Kahancová (CELSI), aims to map out innovative actions undertaken by central and eastern European (CEE) trade union movements since the outbreak of the economic crisis.

It looks not only at strategic innovation, but also at changes in regard to unions’ organisational structure and the selection of their target group/ audience.

Contrary to the popular ‘CEE weakness’ thesis, draft reports prepared by country experts from all eleven new member states document highly original union initiatives, such as the use of signature gathering and direct democracy, awareness-raising campaigns for school graduates, anonymous membership schemes, and recruitment drives among temporary agency workers.

Country studies will be compiled into an ETUI edited volume in 2016. In addition, the most innovative union initiatives will be presented in a handbook form and translated into several European languages.

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