Cutting to the bone: Workers’ solidarity in the Danish-German slaughterhouse industry

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Abstract

The chapter scrutinised how German and Danish unions are navigating in the increasingly integrated slaughterhouse industry within a large Danish multi-national slaughterhouse company with operations in both Denmark and Germany. In particular, the German slaughterhouse industry is highly affected by increasing fragmentation of production and widespread use of low-paid workers often posted from Eastern Europe, which the Danish MNC utilises to lower their production costs. The Danish slaughterhouse workers’ union remain rather successful in safeguarding the workers’ wage and working conditions and preventing any labour market segmentation, while their German peers face much more precarious work. These differences are mainly explained by the vast differences in the unions’ power position in the two systems, with Danish unions being in a much stronger position in terms of membership, where unionisation remain social custom, with strong collective agreements and local representation compared with the German union.
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The chapter scrutinised how German and Danish unions are navigating in the increasingly integrated slaughterhouse industry within a large Danish multi-national slaughterhouse company with operations in both Denmark and Germany. In particular, the German slaughterhouse industry is highly affected by increasing fragmentation of production and widespread use of low-paid workers often posted from Eastern Europe, which the Danish MNC utilises to lower their production costs. The Danish slaughterhouse workers’ union remain rather successful in safeguarding the workers’ wage and working conditions and preventing any labour market segmentation, while their German peers face much more precarious work. These differences are mainly explained by the vast differences in the unions’ power position in the two systems, with Danish unions being in a much stronger position in terms of membership, where unionisation remain social custom, with strong collective agreements and local representation compared with the German union.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReconstructing solidarity: Labour unions, precarious work, and the politics of institutional change in Europe
EditorsVirginia Doellgast, Nathan Lillie , Valeria Pulignano
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication dateJan 2018
ISBN (Print)9780198791843
StatePublished - Jan 2018
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes
EventBook conference: Re-constructuring solidarity: Labour unions, precarious work, and the politics of institutional change in Europe - Cornell University, Ithaca, United States
Duration: 17 Jun 201617 Jun 2016

Workshop

WorkshopBook conference: Re-constructuring solidarity: Labour unions, precarious work, and the politics of institutional change in Europe
LocationCornell University
LandUnited States
ByIthaca
Periode17/06/201617/06/2016
ID: 240306867