03 April 2019

Trade unionism in Europe: Are the working class still members?

Associate Professor Carsten Strøby Jensen has recently contributed to the European Journal of Industrial Relations with the article ‘Trade unionism in Europe: Are the working class still members?’

In the article Carsten Strøby Jensen shows that the middle- and the upper class increasingly are playing a central role in the European trade unions on behalf of the working class. In the social science literature, membership of a trade union is often seen as a means by which the working class has been able to strengthen its position in society in general and in the individual workplace. Changes in the overall occupational structure since the Second World War, and especially since the 1960s, have altered the stratification pattern in all advanced Western countries and have also changed the social class composition of the trade union movement. Using European Social Survey from 22 countries, Carsten Strøby Jensen shows that in most countries, middle- and upper class employees are more likely to be members of a trade union than working class employees. With the trend towards a trade union movement increasingly composed of middle- and upper class employees, the question that arises is, who will represent the interests of the working class people in society? This is a crucial issue for future research.

Carsten Strøby Jensen, Trade unionism in Europe: Are the working class still members?European Journal of Industrial relations, March 2019.