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The Curse of Institutional Security - The Erosion of German Trade Unionism

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  • Anke Hassel

Abstract

Among all EU member states, German unions have the widest gap between male and female trade union density rates and are least adjusted to the structural changes stemming from the rise of the service sector on the labour market. This development asks for a more subtle understanding of the role of industrial relations institutions for trade union membership. The paper addresses the phenomenon by locating the main problem areas of membership erosion, such as weak service sector membership and the ageing of membership in manufacturing trade unions. It argues that industrial relations institutions have a double effect. Industry unionism is on the one hand a key pillar for centralized bargaining and institutional stability. On the other hand, stable institutional structures might have contributed to the membership decline.

Suggested Citation

  • Anke Hassel, 2007. "The Curse of Institutional Security - The Erosion of German Trade Unionism," Industrielle Beziehungen - Zeitschrift fuer Arbeit, Organisation und Management - The German Journal of Industrial Relations, Rainer Hampp Verlag, vol. 14(2), pages 176-191.
  • Handle: RePEc:rai:indbez:doi_10.1688/1862-0035_indb_2007_02_hassel
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Schnabel Claus & Wagner Joachim, 2008. "The Aging of the Unions in West Germany, 1980–2006," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 228(5-6), pages 497-511, October.
    2. Fitzenberger Bernd & Sommerfeld Katrin, 2016. "A Sequential Decomposition of the Drop in Collective Bargaining Coverage," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 236(1), pages 37-69, February.
    3. Anke Hassel, 2014. "The Paradox of Liberalization — Understanding Dualism and the Recovery of the German Political Economy," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 52(1), pages 57-81, March.
    4. Jan Czarzasty & Katarzyna Gajewska & Adam Mrozowicki, 2014. "Institutions and Strategies: Trends and Obstacles to Recruiting Workers into Trade Unions in Poland," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 52(1), pages 112-135, March.
    5. Lisa Dorigatti, 2014. "Organizzare i non organizzati," ECONOMIA E SOCIETÀ REGIONALE, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2014(1), pages 129-141.
    6. Hyman, Richard & Gumbrell-McCormick, Rebecca, 2017. "Resisting labour market insecurity: old and new actors, rivals or allies?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 84658, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Trade Unions; Membership; Institutional Theory;

    JEL classification:

    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects
    • J52 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Dispute Resolution: Strikes, Arbitration, and Mediation
    • J53 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Labor-Management Relations; Industrial Jurisprudence

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