The crisis of social democratic unionism: the opening up of civil society and the prospects for union renewal in the UK, France and Germany

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Upchurch, Martin ; Taylor, Graham ; Mathers, Andrew (2008)
  • Publisher: Sage Publications

This article defines and explores the crisis of social democratic trade unionism in three countries in western Europe. The authors contend that a particularized form of postwar trade union orientation was socially constructed in Britain, Germany, and France in which a party union nexus gave special privileges to unions in return for compliance with state policies in the national interest. This arrangement has broken down in recent years under the pressure of global product market competition. As a result, trade unions are being forced to adopt alternative strategic orientations, involving both a fracture in the party union nexus and a willingness to work within wider civil society.
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