Collective and individual benefits of trade unions: a multi-level analysis of 21 European countries


Correspondence should be addressed to Bengt Furåker, Department of Sociology and Work Science, University of Gothenburg, Box 720, 405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden; email:


In light of internationally declining union density, this article examines to what extent employees derive advantage from trade unions. Data collected in 21 countries through the European Social Survey 2010 are being used. Multilevel analyses show that it is not so much individual membership but unions' collective power that matters. Perceived union influence and a union-friendly industrial relations regime (mainly the organized corporatism in the Nordic countries) are positively linked to the occurrence of regular workplace meetings and to the impact of these meetings on organizational decisions. Employees also appear to benefit from unions' collective power in terms of appropriate pay and job security, although the regime pattern is then less clear.