'An End to Cheap Labour' – How a Public Campaign May Become a Turning Point for Czech Unions' Strength
24 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2017
Date Written: May 1, 2017
The main Czech trade union confederation, the ČMKOS, launched its campaign for 'An End to Cheap Labour' at a rally of 1500 trade unionists on 16 September 2015. The aim was to start closing the pay gap with Western Europe which, even after 25 years of transformation into a market economy and subsequent accession to the EU, left Czech wages about one third the level of richer countries of western Europe. It is not clear whether the campaign for 'An End to Cheap Labour' marks a complete turnaround in union fortunes, but it could mark an important first step in that direction. The following sections analyse the nature and effects of this campaign, starting with an overview of relevant aspects of the existing economic structure, followed by an assessment of the position of Czech trade unions at the time of its initiation based on the power resources approach. The results of the campaign, relating them to trade union power resources, are covered in subsequent sections.
Keywords: trade unions, Czechia, Eastern Europe
JEL Classification: J51
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