How the Eurozone disempowers trade unions : the political economy of competitive internal devaluation
Socio-economic review, 2022, Vol. 20, No. 1, pp. 323-350
RATHGEB, Philip, TASSINARI, Arianna, How the Eurozone disempowers trade unions : the political economy of competitive internal devaluation, Socio-economic review, 2022, Vol. 20, No. 1, pp. 323-350 - https://hdl.handle.net/1814/68137
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The marginalization of trade unions was a notable feature of the sovereign debt crisis in the Eurozone periphery. However, governments have recently imposed liberalizing reforms against union protests in the Eurozone core too. We argue that organized labour loses influence across the core-periphery divide because the ‘new economic governance’ puts national governments under enhanced pressure to compete against each other on wage and labour market flexibility—a process known as competitive internal devaluation. The article illustrates this argument through comparative quantitative indicators of liberalization and qualitative process-tracing in three core countries. Whereas Germany’s outstanding competitiveness position allowed its unions to extract significant concessions, their counterparts in France and Finland faced unprecedented defeats from governments aiming to restore economic growth by closing down the competitiveness gap to Germany. Our findings highlight the class power implications of the Eurozone’s reliance on the labour market as the main economic adjustment variable.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Cadmus permanent link: https://hdl.handle.net/1814/68137
Full-text via DOI: 10.1093/ser/mwaa021
ISSN: 1475-1461; 1475-147X
Publisher: Oxford University Press (OUP)
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