Project theme 2

Labour organizations: developments in structure and memberships

The two former trade union confederations, LO and FTF, have joined forces in a new joint confederation, Fagbevægelsens Hovedorganisation (FH), which brings together employees without university degrees from both the private and the public labour market in the same confederation. With this historic change, it is hoped that the new confederation can help bring membership loss to a halt, especially that experienced by the LO since the mid-1990s. Former FAOS studies have shown that the degree of unionization is particularly low in private services, transport and retail. The question is whether that development can be reversed within these as well as other sectors.

The share of employers joining employers’ associations has been stable for many years, and yet this trend is not only a sign of continuity and stability. Conditions for companies are constantly changing, not least from the effects of increasingly strong international competition, which place new demands on employers’ organizations. FAOS research has shown that many employers’ organizations have managed to change strategies, for instance by offering a number of new services to the companies in addition to their traditional role as an employers’ organization. For some, the new strategy has also entailed a new composition of member companies, which is partly due to the emergence of new industries and thus also to new types of companies with other traditions of cooperation and negotiation. FAOS research will focus on the following questions:

  • new professional and employee identities in a “conglomerate” labour movement
  • professional mobilization – new communication and/or new activism
  • employer strategies – recruitment and retention
  • employers – services and agreements.