Transfer stimulates dialogue between the European trade union movement and the academic and research community. It contributes research findings on issues of strategic relevance for trade unions, in particular with regard to developments at the European level. Transfer publishes original peer-reviewed research on issues such as new developments in industrial relations, social policy, and labour market developments.

Volume 11 Issue 4, Winter 2005

Throughout much of the industrialised world, the terms of the post-war settlement consolidated the position of trade unions and allowed sufficient scope for unionists to bring influence to bear on economic and social development. In Europe the state strengthened trade unionism through supportive legislation and by engaging in different forms of exchange around macroeconomic policy issues and welfare provision. Such exchange was usually founded on Keynesian assumptions. The expansion of Fordist mass production regimes allowed trade unions access to a growing and relatively homogeneous membership, and encouraged employers to engage with trade unions in centralised or industrial collective bargaining. Within the terms of this post-war settlement, trade unions acted politically to improve welfare provisions and to bargain for improvements in the standard of living of members. The precise nature and scope of this activity was influenced by the national regulatory regime within which it took place and the structure of the union movement concerned, but the point remains that trade unions were embedded in, and were integral to, the different national regulatory regimes.

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