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Reconstructing SolidarityLabour Unions, Precarious Work, and the Politics of Institutional Change in Europe$
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Virginia Doellgast, Nathan Lillie, and Valeria Pulignano

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198791843

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198791843.001.0001

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Labour Markets, Solidarity, and Precarious Work

Labour Markets, Solidarity, and Precarious Work

Comparing Local Unions’ Responses to Management Flexibility Strategies in the German and Belgian Metalworking and Chemical Industries

Chapter:
(p.104) 5 Labour Markets, Solidarity, and Precarious Work
Source:
Reconstructing Solidarity
Author(s):

Valeria Pulignano

Nadja Doerflinger

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198791843.003.0005

This chapter examines the processes and the conditions explaining union success in fighting precarious work, based on a comparative study of multinational subsidiaries in the metal and chemical industries in Germany and Belgium. It examines how unions in each plant made different use of institutional and associational power resources to avoid concessions for the relatively protected standard (or permanent) workforce, while improving the conditions of the less protected non-standard (temporary and agency) workers. To fight precarity, trade unions need to build and sustain power. Power resources associated with encompassing institutions and associational power are essential to building inclusive solidarity among different groups of workers. Findings show that fragmented and less encompassing institutions in Germany allow employers to exploit exit options. However, inclusive and strong institutions in Belgium are not an antidote per se to employers’ strategic threats.

Keywords:   precarious work, segmentation, labour markets, labour unions, industrial relations, employment conditions, temporary work, Germany, Belgium, policy

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