Theme 6: Trade union revitalization and non-union workers’ representation

In contemporary capitalist societies, we can observe the reconfiguration of the working class power related to changing employment (precariousness, non-standard, low-wage employment), growing diversity of workforce (in terms of gender, ethnicity, age and other factors), new management approaches (lean production, HPWS, neo-Taylorism, neo-paternalism), core-periphery divisions in European and global political economy, as well as diversity of workers’ identities, life choices and life styles. On the one hand, in responses to these changes, trade unions try to develop new tools and approaches to represent increasingly diverse workforce in often union-hostile conditions. On the other hand, we can observe the emergence of new actors and organisations seeking to represent workers’ interests. In the European Union, the implementation of the 2002/14/EC Directive by the Member States introduced modifications having important consequences to industrial relations systems. Widely visible diversities in the EU have been additionally complicated, with examples of trade union’s domination on the one hand and precise separation of new I&C bodes and trade unions on the  other. What are relations between ‘traditional’ trade union representations and non-union representations, not only those of the 2002/14/EC Directive but also others. What are tendencies in Europe in this respect? Are there similarities or patterns of  institutional change? This panel aims to gather the papers addressing these and other interrelated questions: To what extent trade unions are able to develop proactive strategies in coping with new labour market challenges in various European countries?  Which are the new actors emerging beyond traditional industrial relations systems to deal with the problems of precariousness and diversity? Can we observe the new forms of solidarities cutting across core and peripheries of workforce?  How can the reconfiguration of working class power be translated into new forms of workers’ organisations?