The organisation of unions,
the number of their members and the cultural and institutional contexts
in which they operate differ significantly but several common, sometimes
paradoxical, traits are revealed by case studies.
Traits characteristic of national regulation systems are reflected
in the directions taken by union action: importance of age
measures in Belgium
payments in the United Kingdom
to the law in France
and, in particular, Sweden
However, over and above these dominant traits, Swedish unions also
have recourse to judges (Telia
), British unions to opinion (Insurance
and French unions to negotiation (ADDA
Moreover, we should underscore the fact that there are strong areas
of convergence in action at company level: a search for solutions
to avoid or limit redundancies, search for social dialogue culminating
in negotiations, intervention to foster the organisation of professional
transition and age and bonus measures.
In general, the actual influence of unions in a permanent restructuring
context seems weak (Sweden showing a more contrasting situation)
and, in most countries, everything seemingly takes place as if reduced
to delayed action after the main decisions have already been taken.
However, there is practically no innovation that is not provoked
or at least strongly supported by union organisations. They nonetheless
seldom reap the rewards, to the extent that their role is practically
erased when an initiative is successful.