Unions and Trade: What Kind of Solidarity?
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?