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The End of Solidarity? The Decline of Egalitarian Wage Policies in Italy and Sweden

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Baccaro, L., & Locke, R. M. (1996). The End of Solidarity? The Decline of Egalitarian Wage Policies in Italy and Sweden. Working Paper, 3899-96.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0002-5857-A
Through an analysis of industrial relations developments in Italy and
Sweden --- two countries especially committed to egalitarian wage policies --- this
article argues that wage egalitarianism as it was conceived in the 1960s and
1970s (compression of inter-occupational wage differentials) proved to be a
strategic mistake for unions. It brought about fragmentation (involving multiple
cleavages between blue- and white-collar workers, skilled and unskilled, male and
female, and even private- and public-sector employees) as opposed to unity and
thus produced the opposite results from its stated goals. The article also argues
that if words like 'equality' and 'solidarity' continue to have meaning for labour
organizations, they will need to be associated in the future with completely new
supply-side strategies aimed at bringing about equality of jobs as opposed merely
to wages.