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Left-of-Centre Parties and Trade Unions in the Twenty-First Century$
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Elin Haugsgjerd Allern and Tim Bale

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198790471

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198790471.001.0001

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The Legacy of Pillarization

The Legacy of Pillarization

Trade Union Confederations and Political Parties in the Netherlands

Chapter:
(p.186) 10 The Legacy of Pillarization
Source:
Left-of-Centre Parties and Trade Unions in the Twenty-First Century
Author(s):

Simon Otjes

Anne Rasmussen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198790471.003.0010

This chapter examines the relationship between trade union confederations and political parties in the Netherlands. The Netherlands stands out from many countries by having a historical tradition of Christian-democratic trade unionism due to the legacy of pillarization, when Dutch social and political life was segmented into tight religious and ideological networks. As a result, the analysis of party–trade union links considers both social-democratic and socialist as well as Christian-democratic parties. Compared to previous historical periods the current relationships between Dutch political parties and trade union confederations are relatively weak. There are few institutionalized links between the two, and cooperation mainly takes place when the two share common interests. The chapter discusses the reasons why we see only weak links between parties and trade unions, and proposes that corporatism weakens the need for strong ties between them.

Keywords:   The Netherlands, political parties, trade unions, Christian Democrats, pillarization, corporatism

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