Trade Unionisms in Europe

Conference in Dijon

Conference organised by the Institut CGT d'histoire sociale and the Institut d'histoire contemporaine
Dijon, 18-20 décembre 2000

The constitution of a European social, economic and political area upsets the existing representation at a national level. Thus, European trade unions have gradually merged into a single structure recognised by European institutions: the European trade union confederation (ETUC) created in 1973. However, can we really talk about a European trade unionism? The tendency towards the convergence of social forces should not disguise the problems of the functioning of transnational activities linked with the differences in the development and culture of each organisation. Even though the "invention" of trade unionism preceded the idea of nation, trade unions acquired specific features inseparable from the general socio-political history of each country in which they had to accommodate the core of their activities. However, throughout Europe one can see large cultural families defined by similar ideological affinities and practices. These families have all been nourished over the years by references to socialism, social Christianity or communism.

This symposium, characterised by a combination of the scientific approach and the militant practice, aims to define the role of trade unionism in the European societies by an historical and a comparative approach. The comparative method requires a limited geographical and temporal frame, that's why we have chosen to combine plenary sessions, round-tables and workshops. This makes it possible to work in depth on the similarities and contrasts of different procedures and contexts in which they occurred.

Tania Régin, Serge Wolikow

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Posted: 25 August 2000