English title: Introduction: Causes, consequences and cures of union decline

Author(s): Alex Bryson, - Bernhard Ebbinghaus - Jelle Visser -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2011


In 2000 the political leaders of the European Union declared that strong economic growth and advance towards a knowledge society, together with a high degree of social cohesion, would be the pre-eminent goals for the subsequent decade. A question never asked was what would happen, and what remedial action would be taken, should the conditions conducive to growth and the knowledge economy conflict with the political and institutional underpinnings of social cohesion. What if strong employment growth turned out to be founded on the destabilization of the standard employment contract, or if the advance towards a knowledge economy brought about a sharp rise in social inequality and polarization between skilled and unskilled workers and between those with and without stable jobs? Would trade unions be willing and able to counteract or attenuate such trends and bridge the differences between the new haves and have-nots? Or would they be marginalized, slowly but irreversibly, together with the stable employment relationships that characterized the mid-20th century?

Volume: 17

Issue: 2

From page no: 97

To page no: 105

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1177/0959680111400893

Journal: European journal of industrial relations

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