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The European Steel Unions and the Steel Crisis, 1974-84: A Study in the Demise of Traditional Unionism

Martin Rhodes and Vincent Wright
British Journal of Political Science
Vol. 18, No. 2 (Apr., 1988), pp. 171-195
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/193906
Page Count: 25
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The European Steel Unions and the Steel Crisis, 1974-84: A Study in the Demise of Traditional Unionism
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Abstract

This article explores some of the major reasons for the weakness of the European steel unions during the crisis years of 1974-84. The crisis revealed the absence of viable union strategies and the inefficiency of their tactics, and also exposed - and aggravated - the divisions within and between the unions and their inability fully to control their members. The crisis underlined the dilemmas inherent in tripartite crisis management and the problems of adjusting to the internationalization of the market and the Europeanization of decision making. Finally, the crisis highlighted the fact that subcontracting, new technology, new working practices and new patterns of labour relations at plant level harboured damaging implications for union organization and influence.

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