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Variations in Responses to Anti-Discrimination Legislation among Trade Unions and Employers in EU Countries


  • John Wrench


This paper looks at European trade unions and employers, their awareness of racial/ethnic discrimination, and their receptiveness to legislation against it, focusing both on differences among EU member states, and on changes that have occurred since the 1990s. It draws specifically on two research projects carried out by two EU agencies: the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, and the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), published 14 years apart. The comparison indicates that the 'no problem here' stance regarding racial discrimination, common in the early 1990s, is no longer dominant amongst the EU15 unions and employers, but could still be found amongst respondents in some of the 12 member states that had joined the EU in after 2004. In general, trade unionists and employers in these newer member states are significantly less sympathetic to the EU's Racial Equality Directive and its rationale than their counterparts to the west. Drawing on qualitative interviews from the FRA research, the paper contrasts the various arguments in support of and against the legislation.

Suggested Citation

  • John Wrench, 2013. "Variations in Responses to Anti-Discrimination Legislation among Trade Unions and Employers in EU Countries," RSCAS Working Papers 2013/51, European University Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:rsc:rsceui:2013/51

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    Trade unions; migrants; ethnic minorities; racial discrimination; Racial Equality Directive; European Union.;

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