Trade unions and employer associations from the perspective of social classes


This is a study of organizations that promote and protect the interests of alternative social classes in Ukraine – trade unions as organizations of different groups of employees and the employer/owner associations of different sized businesses. To give an empirically grounded answer to the question, which of the mentioned classes are now more consolidated to protect their interests, I have analyzed the level of formal membership of the representatives of different classes in the relevant organizations and the level of confidence in them.

These indicators are considered in temporal dynamics (from 1990 to 2017) and in comparison with a number of post-Socialist and Western countries. The empirical base is the data of domestic and international statistics, the project of the European Social Survey, the Sociological monitoring surveys of the Institute of Sociology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, several targeted studies of problems of the middle and working classes, small, medium and large business owners, and official websites of the organizations. I have concluded that in Ukraine large employers not only possess much more economic and power resources compared to employees and small owners, but they are also much more consolidated (membership levels in the organizations under consideration are 70%, 20% and 10% respectively).

This opens wider opportunities for them to promote and protect their interests. Differences in the level of consolidation among different classes of employees have also been revealed: representatives of the service classes are more united in the trade unions and trust them more than the workers of manual and routine non-manual labor. Based on the data on the relatively low level of trade union membership and credibility, it is stated that in the 1990s and the 2010s neither workers nor representatives of the middle class were able to create strong and influential organizations for defending their interests in the economic sphere.

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