Swords of justice in an age of retrenchment? The role of trade unions in welfare provision

Johnston, Alison, Kornelakis, Andreas and Rodriguez d'Acri, Costanza (2012) Swords of justice in an age of retrenchment? The role of trade unions in welfare provision. Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research, 18 (2). pp. 213-224. ISSN 1024-2589

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Abstract

The recent financial crisis has once again highlighted the precarious situation of trade unions: austerity measures have targeted unions’ traditional institutional ally, the welfare state, as well as their last organizational stronghold, the public sector. The purpose of this article is to examine how trade unions have responded to reductions in welfare provision, due either to reform or to state inaction, and how state retrenchment can provide a silver lining for unions via the enhancement of unions’ bargaining responsibilities. We argue that, apart from retrenchment and privatization, there is a third road to welfare reform which involves unions’ ‘collectivization’ of social risks through the take-up of marginalized policies in bargaining agreements. Presenting evidence from a most-likely (the Netherlands) and least-likely (Greece) case, we identify instances where unions have acted as pivotal political substitutes to the state in the realm of welfare provision.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > Business and Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Depositing User: Janet Snow
Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2012 11:04
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2012 11:04
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/39774
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