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Journal Article

Ever Larger Unions: Organisational Restructuring and Its Impact on Union Confederations


Ebbinghaus,  Bernhard
Regimewettbewerb und Integration in den industriellen Beziehungen, MPI for the Study of Societies, Max Planck Society;

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Ebbinghaus, B. (2003). Ever Larger Unions: Organisational Restructuring and Its Impact on Union Confederations. Industrial Relations Journal, 34(5), 446-460. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2338.2003.00289.x.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0012-514A-D
Unions have responded to current membership decline and other organisational problems by restructuring via mergers, increasing union concentration within and across union confederations. A particular noted feature are amalgamations to form ‘super-unions’. These conglomerate unions threaten to undermine the role played by confederations in respect of political voice, bargaining coordination, and service provision. Despite these mergers, union pluralism still prevails in many European countries with separate peak associations organised along employment/occupational status or political and religious lines. After comparing the recent merger waves and increased union concentration in western European countries, the consequences for union movements are discussed.