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Innovative trade union strategies

Dirk Kloosterboer

Stichting FNV Pers 128 s. 2007
Bogomtale fra forlaget.

Unions in many countries have seen their memberships decline during the past years. In addition, their position has weakened as a result of factors including a globalizing economy, erosion of workers rights and increasing labour market flexibility.

Some unions, especially in Anglo-Saxon countries, have responded to this situation by running assertive organising campaigns at the workplace, engaging in strategic research, strengthening their position in local communities and launching internationally coordinated campaigns. Increasingly, such approaches are also providing inspiration for unions in Europe.

The new strategies have as yet not solved the problems of the trade union movement. In most countries, union density is still declining. However, some unions and some local coalitions have been surprisingly successful, gaining tens or even hundreds of thousands of new members and improving the conditions of millions of workers, often low-paid workers in the growing service sector.

The present report describes some examples of innovative trade unionism. At the moment, it is difficult to say what kind of approach will work under what circumstances: this is still very much a matter of trial and error. That said, there do seem to be some general characteristics that can be identified in many successful initiatives.