Trade unions and the development
of participation in transnational

The article discusses the relationship between trade unions and other forms of
employee representation, analyzed in European dimension. Authors state that
despite the general decline of trade union power in the developed countries, the
principles of the European social model provide the trade unions in the European
Union with the possibility to shape industrial relations at the national
level. The main challenge, however, is the ability of trade unions to increase
their impact on the European level, as the economic integration progresses.
Authors point out that the EU legislator consistently shows preferential attitude
towards development of participatory (non-union) forms of employee
representation. This attitude can be perceived both in primary and secondary
EU law. Development of such bodies as European Works Councils allows i.a. to
mitigate effects of constant restructuring. However, EU institutions have clearly
distanced approach to the legislative support of cross-border cooperation of
trade unions. The latter, focused on the national objectives and devoid of EU
instruments of effective fight for the rights of employees are not able to perform
their functions at the European level. With the progressing macroeconomic
integration this situation may undermine their ability to influence and shape
the working conditions. According to authors, development of participation at
the European level, without an adequate progress of trade unions cooperation,
will not stop the threat to the social cohesion of the EU, which they consider to
be progressive stratification of income.

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