Why Do Trade Unions Engage in Wage Coordination, Although It Does Not Work? Evidence from the German Metal Sector


  • Martin Seeliger Europa University Flensburg




The article addresses the following puzzle: if, as it appears, wage coordination under the European Monetary Union is unlikely to succeed, why do European trade unions continue to pursue it? The article examines German metal-sector trade unions’ ongoing participation in wage-coordination initiatives within the Eurozone. It argues that their participation can be explained by two factors – a decoupling of talk and action, as two complementary types of organisational output, and the reframing of wage coordination as an activity that will pay off in the distant future.

Author Biography

Martin Seeliger, Europa University Flensburg

Martin Seeliger works as an assistant professor at the Europa-Universität Flensburg. He wrote his PhD on European Trade Unionism at the Max-Planck-Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne, where he is employed as a post-doc. After majoring in Social Science at the Ruhr University of Bochum, he was a visiting fellow at the Sociology Department of the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Mexico City, the European Trade Union Institute in Brussels, the Stockholm Center for Organizational Research and the Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science in Berkeley, the Kolleg Post-Growth Societies in Jena and the Colegio de México in Mexico City, where he studied International Labor Relations from a perspective informed by elements of American Pragmatism and Sociological Institutionalism. [e-mail: martin.seeliger@gmx.net] For more information see CV below.