Belgium

  • Bernhard Ebbinghaus
  • Jelle Visser
  • Patrick Pasture
  • Hans Slomp
Chapter
Part of the The Societies of Europe book series (SOEU)

Abstract

Belgium was the first industrialized country in continental Europe, but a modern nation-wide union movement developed rather late. Moreover, a number of pre-modern traits and social cleavages of ideological, linguistic and territorial origins cut across the class cleavage which emerged with industrialization. The strong interrelations between union movements and allied political parties crystallized into a pillared system of interest organizations divided by Weltanschauung. This has contributed to, and was reinforced by, a corporatist system of industrial relations, based on flexible co-operation between elites and supported by a clientelist Christian-Social welfare state. Unique among organized labour in Western Europe, the Christian union confederation is the largest in the country. Belgian unions are the only union movement in continental Europe (outside Scandinavia) that organizes more than half of the work-force. In addition to close ties with the political system and participation in national concertation, Belgian unions are involved in the administration and adjudication of unemployment insurance and have a strong presence at the workplace through union delegations and works councils. So far, most Belgian unions and their confederations have resisted pressures towards regional break-up which has marked Belgian politics during the past thirty years. Currently, A second consideration concerns the retention of membership after retirement. Adjustment of membership statistics is needed before comparable ‘net’ union density rates can be calculated.

Keywords

Economic Crisis Europe Assure Expense Lost 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Bibliography

  1. Arcq, E. (1993), ‘Le taux de syndicalisation 1982–1991’. CRISP Courrier Hebdomadaire, No. 1386.Google Scholar
  2. — (1997), ‘Collective Labour Relations and Social Pacts in Belgium’. In G. Fayertag and P. Pochet, eds. Social Pacts in Europe. Brussels: ETUI, 97–102.Google Scholar
  3. —, and P. Blaise (1986), ‘Les organisations syndicales en Belgique’. CRISP Dossier No. 23: 1–24.Google Scholar
  4. Blanpain, R. (1984), ‘Recent Trends in Collective Bargaining in Belgium’. International Labour Review 123(3): 319–32.Google Scholar
  5. —(1992), European Employment and Industrial Relations Glossary: Belgium. London: Sweet and Maxwell.Google Scholar
  6. Bundervoet, J. (1983), ‘Belgien’. In S. Mielke, ed. Internationales Gewerkschaftshandbuch. Opladen: Leske und Budrich, 240–51.Google Scholar
  7. Chlepner, B. (1972), Cent ans d’histoire sociale en Belgique. Louvaine-la Neuve: UCL.Google Scholar
  8. CSC/ACV (1947-), Congresverslagen-Comptes rendues. Brussels: CSC/ACV 1947–.Google Scholar
  9. De Broeck, G. (1992), ‘Belgium’. In J. Campbell, ed. European Labor Unions, Westport, CT: Greenwood, 27–38.Google Scholar
  10. Delsore, G. (1981), ‘Belgium’. In A. Blum, ed. The International Handbook of Industrial Relations. London: Aldwych Press, 37–48.Google Scholar
  11. Devreese, D. (1990), ‘Belgium’. In M. van der Linden and J. Rojahn, eds. The Formation of Labour Movements 1870–1914. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 25–55.Google Scholar
  12. Ebertzheim, R. (1959), Les syndicats ouvriers en Belgique. Liège: Université de Liège.Google Scholar
  13. ETUI (1987), The Trade Union Movement in Belgium. Brussels: European Trade Union Institute.Google Scholar
  14. FGTB/ABVV (1947–), Comptes rendues-Congresverslagen. Brussels: FGTB/ABVV 1947–.Google Scholar
  15. Gevers, P. (1989), ‘Vertegenwordegend overleg en medezeggenschap in de ondernemmig’. In T. Beaupain, et al. 50 jaar arbeidsverhoudingen. Bruges: De Keure, 253–78.Google Scholar
  16. Hancké, B. (1991), ‘The Crisis of National Unions: Belgian Labor in Decline’. Politics and Society 19(4): 463–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kendall, W. (1975), The Labour Movement in Europe. London: A. Lane [see Chap. ‘Belgium’, 209–4 and Appendix].Google Scholar
  18. Kossmann, E. (1978), The Low Countries, 1780–1940. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  19. Lorwin, V.R. (1975), ‘Labour Unions and Political Parties in Belgium’. Industrial and Labor Relations Review 28(2): 243–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. —(1966), ‘Belgium: Religion, Class, and Language in National Politics’. In R. Dahl, ed. Political Opposition in Western Democracies. New Haven: Yale University Press, 147–87.Google Scholar
  21. Luyten, D. (1995), Sociaal-economisch overleg in België sedert 1918. Vol. 6. Brussels: VUB-Press.Google Scholar
  22. Martens, A. (1985), ‘Vakbondsgroei en vakbondsmacht in België’. Tijdschrift voor Arbeidsvraagstukken 1(2): 35–41.Google Scholar
  23. Mok, A. (1985), ‘Arbeidsverhoudingen in Nederland and België. Een oefening in differentiële sociologie’. Tijdschrift voor Arbeidsvraagstukken 1(1): 4–17.Google Scholar
  24. Molitor, M. (1978), ‘Social Conflicts in Belgium’. In C. Crouch and A. Pizzorno, eds. The Resurgence of Class Conflict in Western Europe since 1968. Vol. I: National Studies. London: Macmillan, 21–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Neuville, J. (1959), Une génération syndicale. Brussels.Google Scholar
  26. Pasture, P. (1993), ‘The April 1944 Social Pact in Belgium and its Significance for the Postwar Welfare State’. Journal of Contemporary History 28(3): 695–714.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. —(1994), Christian Trade Unionism in Europe since 1968. Avebury: Aldershot.Google Scholar
  28. —(1996), ‘Belgium: Pragmatism in Pluralism’. In P. Pasture, J. Verberkmoes, and H. de Witte, eds. The Lost Perspective? Trade Unions Between Ideology and Social Action in Europe. 2 Vols. Aldershot: Avebury, Vol. 1, 91–135.Google Scholar
  29. —, and J. Mampuys (1990), In de ban van het getal. Ledenanalyse van het ACV 1900–1990. Leuven: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.Google Scholar
  30. Slomp, H., and T. van Mierlo (1984), Arbeidsverhoudingen in België. 2 vols. Utrecht: Het Spectrum.Google Scholar
  31. Spineux, A. (1990), ‘Trade Unionism in Belgium: The Difficulties of a Major Renovation’. In G. Baglioni and C. Crouch, eds. European Industrial Relations. London: Sage, 42–70.Google Scholar
  32. Spitaels, G. (1967), Le mouvement syndical en Belgique. Brussels: Université de Bruxelles.Google Scholar
  33. Van Ruysseveldt, J., and J. Visser (1996), ‘Weak Corporatisms Going Different Ways? Industrial Relations in the Netherlands and Belgium’. In J. van Ruysseveldt and J. Visser, eds. Industrial Relations in Europe. London: Sage, 42–70.Google Scholar
  34. Vilrokx, J., and J. van Leemput (1992), ‘Belgium: A New Stability in Industrial Relations?’ In A. Ferner and R. Hyman, eds. Industrial Relations in the New Europe. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 357–92.Google Scholar
  35. —(1998), ‘Belgium: The Great Transformation’. In A. Ferner and R. Hyman, eds. Changing Industrial Relations in Europe. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 315–47.Google Scholar
  36. Visser, J. (1991), ‘Trends in Trade Union Membership’. OECD Employment Outlook 1991. Paris: OECD, 97–134.Google Scholar
  37. Western, B. (1997), Between Class and Market: Postwar Unionization in the Capitalist Democracies. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Bernhard Ebbinghaus and Jelle Visser 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernhard Ebbinghaus
  • Jelle Visser
  • Patrick Pasture
  • Hans Slomp

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations