Germany
Accidental neomercantilism, questionable Solidarity?
in European labour movements in crisis
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Germany is the archetypal core Eurozone country and its labour movement is one which is well-organized and moderate. After the launch of the euro, the capacity of German unions to control wages via well-established sectoral bargaining institutions ensured that the country increasingly enjoyed competitive advantage within EMU (Hassel, 2014). The case of Germany consequently allows assessment of the extent to which unions may use sectoral bargaining to plan competitiveness. It is argued that constraints on the ability of unions to calculate precluded such strategies and that the superior competitiveness of Germany was the result of structural influences. Following the onset of crisis and the implementation of austerity in Southern Europe, German ascendancy within the Eurozone raised the question of the extent to which a core labour movement was likely to extend solidarity to benighted counterparts. Though SPD often denounced austerity, certain actions of the party could be perceived as supportive. The disagreement of German unions with austerity was more vocal, yet their commitment to concrete opposition was arguably lacklustre (Dribbusch, 2015). The chapter concludes that the lukewarm reaction of German labour was rooted in the dominant national position within EMU.

European labour movements in crisis

From indecision to indifference

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