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 16 Issue 4, November 2010

This, the sixth open issue of Transfer, represents a further step to broadening debate within the journal and to encouraging authors not yet published in the journal to submit articles. The recent publication by the European Commission of its 2020 documentation, coupled with initiatives of the Commission to generate debate, provide the backdrop to this issue of Transfer. In particular, the absence of any specific social proposals in the 2020 documentation represents a further withdrawal from attempts to remedy the ‘fundamental asymmetry’ between the economic and social dimensions of European integration (Scharpf, 2002: 665) that was ever-more clearly in evidence during the so-called Lisbon process. Four of the five articles included in this issue of Transfer review aspects of the social dimension and indicate the current state of play. A feature of several of these articles is the activity undertaken or required by trade union organizations to ensure that the meagre aspects of the social dimension that are in place function more effectively. The fifth article analyses the peculiarities of recent trade union development in Spain and the challenges facing a union movement that is adjusting to globalization.

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