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Firm-level restructuring and union strategies in Europe : local union responses in Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands

Pulignano, Valeria and Stewart, Paul (2013) Firm-level restructuring and union strategies in Europe : local union responses in Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands. Work, Employment and Society, 27 (5). pp. 842-859. ISSN 0950-0170

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A range of literature has attempted to reconceptualise union agendas for firm-level restructuring by identifying variety in local union strategic responses. This article explores the conditions under which local unions respond strategically to company restructuring in the Netherlands, Italy and Ireland. Two distinct types of union strategies are identified: confrontation based on ‘job protection’; cooperation based on ‘job transition’. Evidence suggests that different combinations of structural and socio-political firm-level conditions encourage the choice of specific union strategy. Understanding the nature and the interactions between firm-level contextual factors, within a broader institutional setting during restructuring, is important in providing a fuller explanation for the variety of strategic choices facing local unions.