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23 May 2018

May 2018 edition of Transfer

The May 2018 edition of Transfer, the European Review of Labour and Research has just been published with a focus on ‘Trade Union and the polity: agendas and alliances’.

The special issue, the second in a series of Transfer reports on the state of trade unionism in Europe, examines how new political alliances and networks have formed as the gap between unions and political parties has widened over the last few decades.

The six articles in the issue examine how unions have carved out a new role for themselves as their erstwhile allies in left parties increasingly adopt neo-liberal and deregulatory policies that regard unions as a source of labour market friction rather than their natural partners. The articles consider a range of responses by unions to this estrangement, such as using new channels and forums of direct democracy, embracing radical emancipatory demands and forming fresh alliances with other actors. Individual contributions include: a comparative analysis of responses by governments and unions to the insider-outside problem in the UK and Poland; a call for unions to rethink their relationship with the state; reflections on the transformation of labour regimes in the Nordic countries; a study of trade unions and new social movements; and an examination of whether direct democracy can replace corporatist institutions and party representation.

In addition, the article by Sophie Béroud, which is available for free download, analyses the relationship between French unions and the new social movements which sprang from the protests of 2016. Béroud pinpoints the dilemmas faced by unions in engaging with the ‘Nuit Debout’ campaign at the risk of jeopardizing links with the government and abandoning insider strategies. The activist turn that the French unions took shed light on new organizing opportunities and identified potentially new allies.

You can download for free the introduction to the special issue here by its editors, Bela Greskovits and Jeremy Waddington. The free article by Sophie Béroud is available here, and the table of contents can be viewed here.       

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