Transfer stimulates dialogue between the European trade union movement and the academic and research community. It contributes research findings on issues of strategic relevance for trade unions, in particular with regard to developments at the European level. Transfer publishes original peer-reviewed research on issues such as new developments in industrial relations, social policy, and labour market developments.

Volume 10 Issue 4, Winter 2004

Together with sickness and old age, unemployment is among the classic and fundamental risks for workers. Unemployment deprives workers of income to buy their means of subsistence. So it is no surprise that unemployment has always been and still is high on the agenda of trade unions. From a trade union perspective, unemployment not only affects the living conditions of the unemployed, but the rate of unemployment also affects the conditions for those in employment and the conditions under which trade unions can represent their members. High unemployment means more competition for the available jobs and reduces the level of pay and other working conditions, while low unemployment and excess demand for labour mean greater opportunities to bargain for better conditions. The basic and classic rationale of trade union organisation is to avoid unemployment in the labour market where the union operates in order to reduce competition between workers.

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