Strategic dilemmas for trade unions in transformation: the experience of Serbia.

Upchurch, Martin (2006) Strategic dilemmas for trade unions in transformation: the experience of Serbia. South-east Europe review for labour and social affairs: SEER: quarterly of the Hans-Böckler-Foundation, 4 . pp. 43-64. ISSN 1435-2869

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Abstract

Studies of trade unions in transformation economies have highlighted considerable problems and challenges for trade union revival. In the majority of cases in the countries of central and east Europe, trade union membership and density has fallen in the transformation period. Unions have fragmented politically, often dividing between those unions with a legacy as ‘official’ unions from the past and those which have emerged as newly independent. Where union membership has held up it has more often than not been in the public sector or remaining state owned industries. Membership in greenfield sites and in many newly-privatised enterprises has been absent or difficult to sustain. Such problems are common to western-based unions as well, but in central and eastern Europe an added problem has been claimed by some to include a negative ideological legacy from the past, as unions have been associated with failed Communism. Unions, too, have been accused of continuing a practice of allying themselves with employers or the state rather than developing independence and mobilisation on an adversarial, or ‘them and us’, basis. This paper attempts to relate the central and east European experience to trade unions in Serbia. Particular reference is made to the emerging identities of the different Serbian trade union federations, and the problems and challenges for unions are placed within the framework of structure and agency by referring both to structural constraints within the economy and ideological barriers to union growth. Preliminary research data have been gathered from union documents, interviews with union officials and from an indicative survey of union activists and managers.

Item Type:Article
Research Areas:Middlesex University Schools and Centres > Business School > Leadership, Work and Organisations
Middlesex University Schools and Centres > Business School > Leadership, Work and Organisations > Employment Relations group
ID Code:1432
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Deposited On:10 Mar 2009 11:26
Last Modified:04 Dec 2014 22:13

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