The role of trade unions in European pension reforms: From "old" to "new" politics? | Mannheimer Zentrum für Europäische Sozialforschung

Bernhard Ebbinghaus
The role of trade unions in European pension reforms: From "old" to "new" politics?

European Journal of Industrial Relations, 2011: 17, issue 4, pp. 315-331

Trade unions played a substantial role in the “old politics” of expanding pension systems in Europe; they are still active in the “new politics” of pension reforms. Given the electoral impact and political veto points, governments may seek to overcome reform blockage in political decision-making and implementation by seeking social consensus with trade unions and employers. Various modes of social governance in addition to political interest politics allow trade union influence: institutionalized forms of self-administration of pension insurance, self-regulation via negotiated occupational pensions, institutional consultation of interest groups and tripartite concertation (or social pacts) between government and the social partners.