Article i 'Tidsskrift for arbejdsliv' no. 3 2004, page 63-86.
Henrik Lambrecht Lund
This article discusses and examines trade union strategies of renewal from a sustainability perspective. The article takes its point of departure in theories about unions’ identity in the forms of business unionism, partnership unionism and social movement unionism. The theories are used to pin down the importance of inclusion, and the consequences of exclusion, of societal needs in unions’ modernisation strategies.
The empirical analysis involves a Danish LO (Danish Confederation of Trade Unions) workplace reform project, entitled ‘On the Way to the Sustainable Workplace’. This project is used to analyse limits and opportunities for the trade unions to use societal sustainability as a normative vision and horizon for union renewal strategies.
The conclusion indicates that the challenge of sustainability contains new opportunities for unions to renew their role and identity as a social movement having a project for societal change. Likewise, it creates opportunities to develop new practices in the handling of workers’ interests, which are experienced as important and personally relevant by the union members.