European Labor Unions

European Labor Unions

European Labor Unions

European Labor Unions

Synopsis

This volume summarizes a great deal of information on the evolution of trade unionism in Europe, much of it not previously available in English, the work contains the first scholarly account in any language of certain labor organizations.

Excerpt

European Labor Unions forms part of a series of historical encyclopedias designed by Greenwood Press to cover the development of the organized labor movement in all parts of the world. When planning on this book began in 1988, we decided to prepare chapters on all European countries except Andorra, Liechtenstein, and Monaco, but we would include one on Turkey. An essay on European-wide labor organizations was designed to supplement the country chapters, bringing the chapter total to thirty-two.

Soon after work on this project began, the assumptions about nations and borders on which it was based were called into question. In 1989, central and eastern Europe were thrown into turmoil. As the Soviet empire weakened and then disintegrated, Communist regimes toppled and national borders became unstable. Within a short space of time, one country to which a chapter had been allotted, the German Democratic Republic, disappeared entirely by merging with the Federal Republic of Germany; other nations won their independence from the Soviet Union (the Baltic Republics of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania), and still others sought to do so (e.g., the Ukraine and Georgia). Soon it became doubtful whether the Soviet Union would survive in any form. By the time this book went to press, the "Commonwealth of Independent States" that was meant to hold the country together after the Soviet Union formally ceased to exist at the end of 1991, seemed on the verge of collapse. Meanwhile, Yugoslavia was plunged into civil war as Croatia, Slovenia, and Bosnia-Herzogovina claimed their independence from the Serbian-led federation. Fears also surfaced about Czechoslovakia, renamed the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic in April 1990, lest it too dissolve into its constituent parts.

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