Left-of-Centre Parties and Trade Unions in the Twenty-First Century

Edited by Elin Haugsgjerd Allern and Tim Bale

Abstract

In recent decades it has been widely argued that the links between left-of-centre parties and trade unions have declined as their collaboration has become less mutually beneficial, not least as a consequence of structural changes in the economy and labour market. This book interrogates, qualifies, and even challenges that widespread assumption. By using systematic, comparative methods and brand new data gathered by a cross-national team of experts, it uncovers and explores what turns out to be considerable variation in the strength of contemporary organizational links between parties and unions in twelve different countries that have been democracies since at least the mid to late 1940s.

Testing a series of hypotheses on the importance of the impact of particular political systems and socio-economic factors, and on the costs and benefits for both parties and unions, detailed qualitative and quantitative analysis reveals that left-of-centre party–trade union links are stronger where trade unions are larger, denser, and more unified and where parties are less able to rely on the state to finance their organizational activities and electoral campaigns. Moreover, it remains the case that the links between parties and unions still matter in policy terms. As such, no-one should be writing their obituary just yet.

Full information

Left-of-Centre Parties and Trade Unions in the Twenty-First Century

Edited by Elin Haugsgjerd Allern and Tim Bale

Oxford University Press, 2017

ISBN: 9780198790471

Also available as ebook and in Oxford Scholarship Online

Published Apr. 10, 2017 11:15 AM - Last modified Apr. 10, 2017 11:15 AM