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Managing membership decline in an hostile environment: The case of the print union in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary

Gennard, J. (2007) Managing membership decline in an hostile environment: The case of the print union in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. European Journal of Industrial Relations, 13 (1). pp. 87-106. ISSN 0959-6801

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Abstract

This article examines printing trade unions in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. Since 1990 they have been under major pressure from financial difficulties resulting from a dramatic fall in membership. This, in turn, stemmed from the hostile environment of privatization, corporate mergers and acquisitions, technological change and anti-trade union policies on the part of some employers. To reduce costs and ensure institutional survival, and potentially revival, the leaderships of the three unions have implemented strategies to redefine union objectives, the means of their achievement and the procedures of union democracy. Modernization is, however, constrained by their unions' decision-making structures, cultures, resources and their own ideologies.