chapter  12
12 Pages

Unions and Trade: What Kind of Solidarity?

ByIngemar Lindberg

In order to meet the challenges of globalisation, workers need to develop organisational struc-

tures for collaboration across national borders. Such extended solidarity requires a better under-

standing of possible conflicts of interest, as well as converging interests, between workers in the

centres and the peripheries of capitalism. This article is based on my own empirical observations

over many years inside a Northern union movement as well as discussions with unionists from

other parts of the world. It seeks to address two related issues: (i) How can we best analyse con-

flicting and shared interests between workers in the centres and in the peripheries of the capitalist

world system? Can trade agreements be formed in such a way as to create a win-win game? (ii)

How can solidarity (understood partly as enlightened mutual self-interest) be extended transna-

tionally as well as between workers in formal and informal sectors? What kind of solidarity,

based on what?