How hard a blow for the collective representation of labour interests? – The Baltic industrial relations and the financial crisis
The article discusses effects of the financial crisis on the bargaining position of labour in the Baltic States based on the power resources approach. It analyses in how far distinctly Baltic characteristics of industrial relations have intensified the crisis impact as compared to other Central and Eastern European Countries. The findings stress two interrelated effects. Firstly, they do reveal a sharp drop in structural power due to the particularly high unemployment rate. Secondly, this trend is accompanied by a loss of associational and institutional power that is likely to have a weakening impact on the bargaining position of labour due to three developments: specific forms of membership losses, the widespread failure of renegotiating collective agreements and the non-compliance of anti-crisis social dialogue results. The author argues that in the outcome the crisis could distinctly intensify the individualised nature of the respective industrial relations systems. This is due to the extremely high costs it would cause labour to reverse the three mentioned developments.