`Everyone concerned over the construction of a truly social Europe will learn much from this thoughtful and probing study." - Professor Colin Crouch, Istituto Universitario Europeo In this comprehensive overview of trade unionism in Europe and beyond, Richard Hyman offers a fresh perspective on trade union identity, ideology and strategy. He shows how the varied forms and impact of different national movements reflect historical choices on whether to emphasize a role as market bargainers, mobilizers of class opposition or partners in social integration. The book demonstrates how these inherited traditions can serve as both resources and constraints in responding to the challenges which confront trade unions in
Chapter 2: Trade Unions as Economic Actors: Regulating the Labour Market
Trade Unions as Economic Actors: Regulating the Labour Market
In most English-speaking countries, trade unions have traditionally been viewed as organizations the primary purpose of which is to secure economic benefits for their members; in particular, by advancing their ‘terms and conditions of employment’ through collective bargaining. From such a perspective, broader social and political objectives are of dubious legitimacy, or at best ancillary to unions' economic functions.
In this chapter I discuss the classic analysis of trade union functions presented by Sidney and Beatrice Webb over a century ago, and the doctrine of ‘business unionism’ which acquired particular force in the USA. In the latter model, industrial relations is perceived as a largely self-contained field of action. ...