IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Why Trade Unions Oppose Basic Income


  • Vanderborght Yannick

    (Belgian Fund for Scientific Research (FNRS), and Hoover Chair, Université Catholique de Louvain)


In most OECD countries trade unions remain key players in the field of welfare state reform. And yet, surprisingly little attention has been paid by proponents of a universal basic income (BI) to the very position of workers unions on the radical reform that they are advocating. This paper tackles this issue in three complementary ways. First, it offers a brief overview of the (scarce) literature on basic income and trade unions. Second, it focuses on plausible arguments that could be used by trade unions to oppose or, alternatively, support a basic income. Finally, empirical information collected in Belgium, Canada, and the Netherlands is used to test the robustness of the theoretical assumptions. These investigations demonstrate that trade unions are far from being natural allies of BI advocates within developed welfare states. As evidenced by the Belgian case, they can even constitute a significant obstacle to the political progression of the idea.

Suggested Citation

  • Vanderborght Yannick, 2006. "Why Trade Unions Oppose Basic Income," Basic Income Studies, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-20, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bistud:v:1:y:2006:i:1:n:5

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: For access to full text, subscription to the journal or payment for the individual article is required.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Offe Claus, 2008. "Basic Income and the Labor Contract," Basic Income Studies, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-30, July.
    2. Koistinen Pertti & Perkiö Johanna, 2014. "Good and Bad Times of Social Innovations: The Case of Universal Basic Income in Finland," Basic Income Studies, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1-2), pages 25-57, December.
    3. Luke Haywood, 2014. "Bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen: eine ökonomische Perspektive," DIW Roundup: Politik im Fokus 33, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    4. Jenkins Davis, 2015. "Distribution and Disruption," Basic Income Studies, De Gruyter, vol. 10(2), pages 257-279, December.
    5. Manjarin Edgar & Szlinder Maciej, 2016. "A Marxist Argumentative Scheme on Basic Income and Wage Share in an Anti-capitalist Agenda," Basic Income Studies, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 49-59, June.
    6. Casassas David, 2016. "Economic Sovereignty as the Democratization of Work: The Role of Basic Income," Basic Income Studies, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-15, June.
    7. Haagh Louise, 2015. "Alternative Social States and the Basic Income Debate: Institutions, Inequality and Human Development," Basic Income Studies, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 45-81, June.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bpj:bistud:v:1:y:2006:i:1:n:5. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Golla). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.