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N°169-170 (juin 2020)

English abstracts


Family policy, employment, and collective perceptions: Diminishing East/West differences

Jeanne FAGNANI and Brigitte LESTRADE

Prior to German unification, women in the East, whether or not they had children, worked full-time, whereas in the West the “male breadwinner” model persisted. Since the fall of the Wall, both models have changed: the first suddenly, directly following the collapse of the East-German economy; the second gradually, following adaptations in family policy and changes in mentality.

Over the last decade, have we witnessed a diminishing of the differences between the new and old Länder in regard to employment rates and the participation of mothers in the labor market? And, if so, what are the reasons behind this?

Keywords: Germany, family policy, gender equality, work-life balance, participation in the labor market.

United Kingdom

The unions and Brexit (continued)


During the 2019 negotiations on exiting the European Union (EU), the Trades Union Congress (TUC) prioritized two objectives: Firstly, to secure guarantees on workers’ rights, of which the majority are based on the transposition of European directives. Secondly, to back a free trade deal with the EU with no tariffs or other obstacles, in order to avoid a massive loss of jobs. Following the electoral collapse of the Labour Party, and in the face of contradictory statements by members of the government, the TUC runs the risk of being sidelined in the next phase of negotiations.

Keywords: United Kingdom, Brexit, Trades Union Congress, workers’ rights, free trade.

United Kingdom

Lessons in rail privatization


The radical privatization of British railways in 1993 is still unrivalled in any other country. It led to an upheaval of the labor relations system, creating a crucial challenge for unions. The vigor and ubiquity of union disputes combined with multiple inefficiencies to bring about, from 2018, a crisis of the system to which a solution is yet to be found. At a time when France is starting out on this path in a more cautious manner, it is useful to examine the results of this experiment.

Keywords: United Kingdom, privatization, unions, railways.


Citizenship income: A damp squib


The Italian legislative elections of June 2018 resulted in an unexpected government coalition, carrying both the Five Star Movement (M5S) and the League into power. Hotly anticipated by the population—especially that of southern Italy—, a citizenship income has been implemented by the government. Its introduction arises out of the flagship policy of M5S’s electoral platform, and it has not been called into question by the new ruling coalition, of which M5S also forms part. The measure involves giving a basic income to the most deprived to help get them back into work. However, analysis of this program and the reactions of the three big Italian unions show the limitations of this initiative.

Keywords: Italy, citizenship income, Five Star Movement, poverty, reintegration.

United States

The Big Three car manufacturers renew their collective bargaining agreements under pressure

Catherine SAUVIAT

The renewal of collective bargaining agreements at the Big Three American car manufacturers was characterized by a number of uncertainties for the sector. The union UAW, particularly weakened by an FBI investigation into the proven corruption of its most senior leaders, nonetheless managed to use the weapon of strike action not only to defend certain benefits but also to hasten the transition expected to lead to the abolition of the two-tier salary scales introduced just before the great recession.

Keywords: United States, collective bargaining agreement, automotive, union, strike.

United States

Toward an accelerated redefinition of welfare programs under Donald Trump’s presidency

Catherine SAUVIAT

Donald Trump and his administration have, since 2018, been committed to a radical and accelerated reconfiguration of the welfare programs for the poor, SNAP (food aid) and Medicaid (means-tested medical cover). The quid pro quo required of claimants for these two programs has been intensified, and the principles behind the introduction of Medicaid may be called into question. The health emergency triggered by the coronavirus epidemic may however put a (temporary) stop to such initiatives, given the crucial roles that these two programs are expected to play in the face of sharp increases in unemployment and poverty.

Keywords: United States, welfare, SNAP, Medicaid, activation.


National security finds its way into international economic discussions


The combination of the collapse of global trade and a severe recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic will harden the protectionist policies implemented by governments in the most powerful countries, already in place since the 2008 crisis. The historical landscape that took shape at the end of the 2000s resulted in a tightening of the relationship between global economics and geopolitics. “Techno-nationalism” seems highly likely to be an increasingly significant—albeit moderate—form of nationalism in the context of international conflict.

Keywords: globalization, national security, transatlantic, unions, technology.