The Challenges of Modernisation: Towards a New Paradigm for Trade Unions in Europe

Friday, 3 July 2015: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
TW2.1.02 (Tower Two)
Ulrich Mückenberger, Hamburg University, Hamburg, Germany
Cornelia Stroh, Bremen University, Bremen, Germany
Rainer Zoll, Bremen University, Bremen, Germany
In 1995 the article argued that the European trade union movement is in the throes of major upheaval as a result of changes in technology, the economy, and the socio-cultural environment. The authors argue that it is high time the trade unions moved on to enter a next phase of modernity. The modernisation required entails the combined operation of "rationalisation, domestication, individualisation and differentiation". These four concepts are used not just to describe the processes underway; it is argued that they can also, if the opportunities contained in them are identified and harnessed, constitute guides to action. An analysis of these four concepts, applied to the situation of the trade unions, can thus assist in the search for ways out of the crisis that is currently affecting the unions in their orientations, organisation and policies.