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 13 Issue 2, Summer 2007

The 1970s and 1980s saw a profound change in industrialised economies, in the form of restructuring. Restructuring had long been regarded as a temporary stage during which the industrialised economies had to adjust to lower growth and increased competition from, for example, the newly industrialised economies of Asia. However, the economic recession of the early 1990s demonstrated not only that worldwide competition had intensified, but that continuing restructuring could bring even more dramatic social effects. Since the 1990s, growing international competition, globalisation and the internationalisation of markets have generated enormous pressure on multinational companies (MNCs) to restructure their operations, with important implications for employment (mostly in the form of downsizing) and trade unions. Generally, trade unions have to face an ongoing fundamental structural shift from industrial to service-based economies. This changes the world of trade unions radically since they have traditionally dealt with the working conditions of industrial workers, many of whom were organised in large workplaces and under collective agreements.

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