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Why Trade Unions Oppose Basic Income

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  • Vanderborght Yannick

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

Abstract

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
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    Citations

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    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.

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