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Patterns of transnational trade union cooperation in Europe: The effect of regimes, sectors and resources

Journal article
Authors Patrik Vulkan
Bengt Larsson
Published in European journal of industrial relations
Volume 25
Issue 2
Pages 147-162
ISSN 0959-6801
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Sociology and Work Science
Centre for European Research (CERGU)
Pages 147-162
Language en
Subject categories Sociology


How far, in what ways and on what issues do trade unions in Europe cooperate cross-nationally? Three important structural factors may explain differences in cooperation: national industrial relations contexts, sectoral contexts and unions’ organizational resources. We examine transnational union cooperation at sectoral level, and test the explanatory value of these three factors. We address cooperation in five broad sectors, using a Europe-wide questionnaire-based survey of trade union activities. We find that sectoral differences explain more of the variation in levels of transnational cooperation than do industrial relations regimes when controlling for resources, whereas both sectors and regimes influence which issues are seen as important for current and future cooperation. In addition, small trade unions engage in much less transnational cooperation than large ones.

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