Obstructing unionisation among young workers: A qualitative study on individualistic attitudes and employer resistance towards unionism
Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Declining union density rates have been and continue to be an ongoing issue and worry around the world. In Sweden, union density remains high in comparison to other countries, although not an exception to the declining rates which have largely encompassed young workers. The objective of this study is to research two phenomena that have been identified as influences surrounding why young workers do not become unionised. The research questions are 1. Can individualistic attitudes be linked to the decline in union density among young workers, if so how? and 2. Can employer resistance towards trade unionism be linked to the decline in union density among young workers, if so how?.There are substantial amounts of quantitative research devoted to trying to understand the decline, which motivated writing a report with a qualitative approach. Focus was put on the thoughts and views of six young individuals who are all involved with three Swedish trade unions, HRF, Handels and Seko. The results of the study revealed that both individualistic attitudes and employer resistance can be linked to declining union density rates among youths. Individualistic attitudes were analysed alongside Allvin and Sverke’s theories on the ‘era of individualisation’, which includes declining preparedness to participate in collective movements, the belief in the efficacy of the self and autonomous attitudes towards institutions. Individualistic attitudes that were conferred in the interviews revolved around matters such as young workers not being able to identify themselves with trade unions and their officials. Employer resistance methods were discussed in line with, among others, Brulin’s theory on the work place as a political arena, where employers and trade unions battle for the loyalty of the employees. Resistance towards trade unions seem to appear in various forms and different methods are used in order to obstruct individuals from becoming or remaining unionised. This includes subtle threats and ostracism from managers and co-workers and unmotivated changes of rosters.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 39 p.
trade union, union density, individualism, young workers, employer resistance
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-128056OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-128056DiVA: diva2:912413
2016-03-23, 09:00 (Swedish)
Sandberg, Åke, Professor emeritus