Trade unions, politics and parties: is a new configuration possible?

  title={Trade unions, politics and parties: is a new configuration possible?},
  author={Richard Joseph Hyman and Rebecca Gumbrell-Mccormick},
  journal={Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research},
  pages={315 - 331}
Trade unions are not merely economic (or ‘industrial relations’) actors: they are necessarily protagonists in the political arena. Regulating the labour market is a question of power resources. Yet if unions are inescapably both economic and political actors, the relationship between the two roles is complex and contradictory, and the priority assigned to each varies across countries and over time. Four factors seem of particular importance in explaining these distinctive patterns: ideology… 

Tables from this paper

‘Breaking up is hard to do’: German trade unions within the Social Democratic Party

Scholars have long conceptualized unions and left parties as powerful and independent social actors within national systems of the political economy. Yet a unique survey of more than 2300 German

Crisis and trade union challenges in Portugal and Spain: between general strikes and social pacts

This article examines the responses of trade union confederations to the impact of the international crisis of 2007—2010 in Portugal and in Spain. Both countries had socialist governments in power

Crafting alternatives to corporate restructuring: Politics, institutions and union power in France and Canada

This article explores how local trade unionists mobilize politics and institutions in the face of threats of restructuring. I focus on three issues: first, how differences in regime types and


Migration issues are central to the current political discourse in Europe and are likely to remain a prominent theme in European politics for a long time to come. The discussion about the

Beyond the chains that bind: the political crisis of unions in Western Europe

The dynamics of neo-liberal restructuring have generated serious tensions in the institutional alignments between social democratic political parties and labor unions in Western Europe. This article

Union Democracy: A European Perspective

This paper, written partly in response to Steven Ashby’s article for this journal, ‘Union Democracy in Today’s Labor Movement’, explores the meaning and practice of internal trade union democracy in

The Importance of Political Systems for Trade Union Membership, Coverage and Influence: Theory and Comparative Evidence

Ideological connections between the state, political systems, and industrial relations have long been important. But the influence of the structural nature of a country’s political system on trade

The Importance of Political Systems for Trade Union Membership, Coverage, and Influence: Theory and Evidence

Among the many factors that can influence patterns of trade union membership, coverage, and influence, the importance of a country’s political system has been largely overlooked by industrial

Trade unions, immigration and immigrants in Europe revisited: Unions’ attitudes and actions under new conditions

This paper revisits the comparative approach used by Penninx and Roosblad (Trade Unions, Immigration and Immigrants in Europe, 1960-1993. New York: Berghahn Books) to study trade unions’ attitudes


Among the many factors that can influence patterns of trade union membership, coverage, and influence, the importance of a country’s political system has been largely overlooked by industrial



The Political Economy of Social Pacts: Competitive Corporatism and European Welfare Reform

One of the most important, but until now neglected, aspects of the new politics of welfare in western Europe concerns new nationally-negotiated social pacts, referred to in a previous article as

Industrial Relations And European State Traditions

In some western European countries trade unions and employers' organizations share responsibility with government for maintaining order and efficiency in the labour market as a matter of course. in

Understanding European Trade Unionism: Between Market, Class and Society

Understanding European Trade Unionism is a well-written, thought-provoking book. Those familiar with Richard Hyman's writings will recognize this book's argument as the logical extension and

Constants and Variants in Political Exchange

: The purpose of this article is to offer some clarification on developments in a number of European countries in the postwar period. The crux of the analysis are the relations between the huge,

The Crisis of Social Democratic Trade Unionism in Western Europe: The Search for Alternatives

Outlines the developing crisis of social democratic trade unionism in Western Europe and examines the emerging alternatives. The authors define 'social democratic trade unionism' and its associated

Do Trade Unions Have a Future? The Case of Denmark

This article analyses union membership among members of the Danish Trade Union Congress (LO). In contrast to most studies about union futures, it takes a subjective membership perspective by drawing

The Transformation of French Industrial Relations: Labor Representation and the State in a Post-Dirigiste Era

Despite continued social protest, something quite fundamental has changed in the regulation of class relations in France. This article explores two paradoxes of this transformation. First, a dense

Uncertain Boundaries: The Social and Political Construction of European Economies

Preface Acknowledgements Introduction: the shifting boundaries between market, politics and society Part I. The Rise and Decline of the Political Regulation of the Economy: 1. The Keynesian welfare

The Structuring of Mass Politics in the Smaller European Democracies: A Developmental Typology

  • S. Rokkan
  • Economics
    Comparative Studies in Society and History
  • 1968
There is a curious awkwardness about discussions of “types” in comparative politics. Aristotle and Montesquieu taught us to proceed by classifications of regimes, and the current generation of

Institutionalizing Dualism: Complementarities and Change in France and Germany

The French and German political economies have been significantly reconfigured over the past two decades. Although the changes have often been more piecemeal than revolutionary, their cumulative