What next for unions in Central and Eastern Europe? Invisibility, departure and the transformation of industrial relations

Umut Korkut, Alex De Ruytrer, Manos Maganaris, David Bailey

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This article examines union revitalization in Central and Eastern Europe, focusing on two countries: Hungary and Latvia. Trade unions have not only had to cope with a declining membership base, but have also had to respond to austerity programmes and government cuts in public sector employment. We argue that the inability of unions to provide a strong voice for alternative policies to the current neoliberal orthodoxy has been driven by a declining membership base, but also by weakened social dialogue mechanisms, limited industrial representation and an ageing membership profile, exacerbated by net outward migration in recent years. However, we find that unions in Latvia and Hungary have responded differently to these issues.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Industrial Relations
Early online date28 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017



  • Central Europe
  • Eastern Europe
  • economics
  • industrial relations

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