2004
Volume 29, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0778-8304
  • E-ISSN: 2665-9484

Abstract

Abstract

The implosion of Communism between 1989 and 1991 in Central- and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the following socio-economic transitions had a strong impact on Western European social movements. The international trade union movement and trade unions in Belgium and the Netherlands were galvanized to support the changing labour landscape in CEE, which witnessed the emergence of new independent unions and the reform of the former communist organizations. This article explores the so far little-studied history of Christian trade union engagement in post-communist Europe. Focusing on the World Confederation of Labour (WCL) and its Belgian and Dutch members, it reveals how Christian trade unions tried to recruit independent trade unions in the East by presenting themselves as a ‘third way’ between communism and capitalism and by emphasizing the global dimensions of their movement. The WCL ultimately failed to play a decisive role in Eastern Europe because of internal disagreements, financial struggles and competition with the International Confederation of Trade Unions.

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