After the Great Recession: Unions’ Views on Transnational Interests and Cooperation

Keywords: Identity, Labour market, Organization


The aim is to describe and explain the similarities and differences between European trade unions concerning their views on transnational union interests and cooperation in the wake of the Great Recession. We do this by analyzing 221 responses from a European-wide web/postal survey distributed in 2015–2016 to union officials representing staff in employment sectors such as transport, metal and mining, construction, health care, and banking and finance. We find only limited sectoral differences, despite the varied impact of the Great Recession. The main findings are that unions in crisis-ridden southern European countries express a stronger orientation toward transnational union interests and cooperation. Unions in the northern and western European center express a weaker transnational orientation, in line with a renationalization strategy typically expressed in the form of national competitive corporative arrangements. This shows the importance of different institutional resources for unions across the various European industrial relations regimes.

Author Biographies

Mattias Bengtsson, University of Gothenburg


Associate professor, Department of Sociology and Work Science. E-mail:

Patrik Vulkan, University of Gothenburg


Assistant professor, Department of Sociology and Work Science

How to Cite
Bengtsson, M., & Vulkan, P. (2018). After the Great Recession: Unions’ Views on Transnational Interests and Cooperation. Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies, 8(3).