Trade Unions have been important institutions of industrial society. Membership numbers peaked in the late 1970s and then experienced a long decline which only seems to be coming to an end recently. The reasons for membership losses are manifold, they include changes in society`s values, such as membership in traditional organizations, to new values of individualization, personal responsibility and self-realisation. In addition, processes of global and regional integration have altered the basic principles for trade unions' actions. Under the guise of 'competitiveness', European governments have cut back on social benefits and questioned major accomplishments of labour organisations. As long as neo-liberal thinking was main-stream, trade unions where considered to be slowing down progress, if not obsolete. This way of thinking has changed rapidly since the start of the financial crisis in 2008. Trust in the invisible hand of the free markets is sinking, at the same time, public acceptance of unions is rising again and membership numbers are stabilizing. In our seminar, we would like to discuss "The Future of Trade Unions in Europe" in an adequately broad and interdisciplinary way.
Walther Mueller-Jentsch (Duesseldorf)
Trade unions in a civilized market economy
Gerd Groezinger (Flensburg)
Trade Unions and Post-Modern Societies: Some Institutional Considerations
Andreas Breitenfellner (Brussels)
Global Unionism: A Potential Player in the International Political Economy?
Irma Rybnikova (Chemnitz)
Acceptance of unions in stable and transitional economies before and after the "risis": Comparing Lithuania and Germany
Jean Faniel (Brussels)
Crisis behind the figures? Belgian Trade Unions between Strength, Revitalisation and Paralysis
Holm-Detlev Köhler and José Pablo Calleja Jiménez (Oviedo)
Revitalisation of trade unions in Spain: drivers and blockers
Frans Hikspoors (Zwolle), Jan Jurriens (Arnhem)
European Trade-Unions: Changing Position, Changing Values and Changing Participation?
Wenzel Matiaske (Hamburg)
Financial Participation in Europe -- An Empirical Study