Labor inequalities and union/professional membership in Europe
Challenges for Public and Private Sector Industrial Relations and Unions in times of Crisis and Austerity
The increase of social inequalities in the 21st century, with an impact in the work world visible in the intensification of labor precariousness, constitutes currently one of the most notorious expressions of the transformation process of the capitalist system in modern societies. This article’s purpose is to develop an analysis of the labor inequalities that characterize the (European) labor markets, from an approach on labor precariousness and its effects on the union/professional membership and collective action of European workers. One anticipates discussing the relationship seeking to understand the connections between the union/professional membership and social and political participation. An analysis was made of said relationship based on a set of indicators integrating the international survey “European Social Survey”. One will consider the data concerning the year of 2006, the edition of this survey that gathered the appropriate conditions to the performance of a multidimensional analysis of the problem being analyzed. The investigation performed allows us to conclude that, in European contexts where employment conditions are less precarious (in terms of organizational resources, contract binding, workers insecurity and professional satisfaction), the levels of union/professional membership are higher. Thus, the institutional contexts of precariousness in European countries reverberates in the conditions of certain practices of collective action of their citizens. The increase in the work precariousness seems to contribute to a certain inhibition of the exercise of citizenship, materialized in a lower union/ professional membership.
Labor markets; segmentation; social inequalities;