Research area 2 – University of Copenhagen

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Labour market organizations

Research area 2

Support for traditional trade unions in Denmark has been decreasing over the past 20 years. The question is what this development means for Danish labour market organizations, centrally as well as locally. Traditional trade unions may lose legitimacy as a negotiating counterpart when it comes to both employers during collective bargaining and the government in tripartite cooperation and tripartite negotiations. Employer organisations have been more successful in recruiting new members, but the question is why employers are joining. Studies have suggested that employers are especially concerned with daily services and political lobbying, while the coverage of collective agreements and collective bargaining is less important. Despite the growing organizational density of employer organizations, a significant share of private companies are still not part of the collective bargaining system, and we do not know exactly why this is so. The organisational structure and strategies at the local level are crucial to overall member recruitment in many trade unions and employer organizations. Thus, analyses of regional and local departments (as well as cooperation with union representatives) are also included in this research area.

Five issues and an accompanying research topic are identified within this research area:

  • What determines membership development of trade unions? 
  • Employers and the Danish model of labour market regulation
  • Danish trade unions’ handling of diversity among members 
  • ‘Yellow’ unions seen from the inside – how do they contribute to organization density? 
  • The structural development of labour market organisations
  • Accompanying research: Trends in membership of trade unions and unemployment funds

These issues will be addressed in the following projects: