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Trade union cooperation in the EU. Views among Swedish Trade Unions and Their Members

Paper i proceeding
Författare Bengt Furåker
Mattias Bengtsson
Publicerad i Industrial Relations in Europe Conference Challenges for Public and Private Sector Industrial Relations and Unions in times of Crisis and Austerity, 5-7 September 2012, Lissabon, Portugal
Sidor 1-20
Publiceringsår 2012
Publicerad vid Institutionen för sociologi och arbetsvetenskap
Sidor 1-20
Språk en
Ämnesord trade union cooperation, EU, Euroscepticism, Swedish trade unions
Ämneskategorier Sociologi, Arbetslivsstudier


The process of EU integration raises the question to what extent it is desirable for trade unions to engage in EU-level issues compared to issues closer to home – at national, regional, local or workplace level. We can also ask if the priorities set by unions coincide with or deviate from the wishes of their members and whether there are distinct differences across unions, for example due to whether they organize blue-collar or white-collar workers. This paper throws new light on these topics by comparing certain views of Swedish trade unions with those of their members regarding transnational union cooperation in Europe. Data from two surveys – one with employees in 2006 and the other with trade unions in 2010-11 – are used. Sweden is a particularly interesting country, as it has been described as one of the most Eurosceptic countries. At the same time, Swedish trade unions are very much engaged in the activities of the ETUC. It is concluded that trade unions are more open to cross-national union cooperation in Europe than are their members and less inclined to play down European issues. However, when asked about transferring authority to the ETUC, trade unions mostly answered in the negative.

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