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February 8, 2012 / Sian Moore

Seminar: Union Organizing in Central and Eastern Europe

The Meanders of Union Organising in Eastern Europe

A seminar by Dr Adam Mrozowicki

Friday 10 February 2012, from 4.30 to 7pm

Hosted in the Queen Anne Court, room 063, University of Greenwich, Old Royal Naval College, Park Row, London SE10 9LS

The University of Greenwich, Work and Employment Research Unit are holding a free seminar on Friday 10 February.  The seminar will examine the mechanism of trade union organising in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). It will explore the trade union recruitment strategies in the automotive sector and the retail sector in Estonia, Poland, Romania and Slovenia.

The seminar will look at data, including expert interviews with sectoral trade union leaders, the case studies of 16 unionised multinational companies and biographical interviews with company-level trade union leaders, collected in 2009-2011. The analysis suggests the existence of cross-country and sectoral differences in organising approaches.

In Slovenia, trade union organising is weak and decentralised (company-based) in both sectors studied. In Poland, Estonia and Romania, top-down, comprehensive and centralised organising campaigns were developed in the retail sector (hypermarkets). However, similarly comprehensive approach was almost absent in the automotive sector, in which company- and locality-based organising practices dominated.

The research seminar explains these differences in terms of resource-based model of union revival, the institutional features of Polish, Slovenian, Estonian and Romanian industrial relations and worker agency at the company level. It is suggested that the biggest challenge for CEE trade unions, is to combine an efficient workplace unionism with the strategies aimed at regaining (or retaining) their role as political actors that would be capable to protect – by influencing legislative processes and enforcing labour rights – the great majority of disorganised and precarious workers.

Dr Adam Mrozowicki, PhD in Social Sciences (Catholic University of Leuven, 2009), is lecturer at the Institute of Sociology, University of Wroclaw. His expertise lies in the areas of the sociology of work, comparative employment relations and qualitative methodology. He has been involved in EU-funded studies on trade union development and social dialogue in Central and Eastern Europe. In the years 2009-2011, he was a post-doctoral research fellow of the Foundation for Polish Science (Homing Programme) coordinating research on trade union revitalisation in Poland, Romania, Estonia and Slovenia. For the period of 2011-2014, he has been granted a scholarship of the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education for excellent young researchers. He has published in Work, Employment and Society, European Journal of Industrial Relations, Qualitative Sociology Review and EMECON.


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