Thomas Prosser
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How do labour movements respond to European Integration?
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Chapter 9 answers the research question. It is argued that, rather than being based on cooperation, the behaviour of labour tends to facilitate competition between national regimes. Owing to the nationally embedded nature of labour movements, which is itself in the interests of certain workers, bargaining processes tend to lead to an unplanned yet incremental drift towards zero-sum outcomes which benefit national workforces in stronger structural positions. Strategies which aim to correct discrepant outcomes, particularly necessary at times of crisis, are generally unsuccessful. Not only are attempts at European cooperation weakly prioritized by labour movements, which is related to the tendency for certain workers to benefit from the status quo, but difficulties associated with collective action mean they can be easily vetoed. This theory may be generalized to other settings, though the extent to which it is specific to contemporary Europe is emphasized. A series of further issues is raised by this argument, including implications for the Europeanization of social-democracy and the extent to which the actions of labour movements were generally representative of workers. The chapter concludes with an assessment of implications for related academic debates.

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European labour movements in crisis

From indecision to indifference


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