1st Edition

Corporate Social Responsibility and Trade Unions Perspectives across Europe

Edited By Lutz Preuss, Michael Gold, Chris Rees Copyright 2015
    256 Pages
    by Routledge

    256 Pages
    by Routledge

    Growing interest in corporate social responsibility (CSR) has focused attention on the relationship between businesses and key stakeholders, such as NGOs and local communities. Curiously, however, commentators on CSR rarely discuss the role of trade unions, while commentators on employment relations seldom engage with CSR. This situation is all the more remarkable since unions are a critically important social actor and have traditionally played a prominent role in defending the interests of one key stakeholder in the company, the employee.

    Written by dedicated experts in their field, this book addresses a key gap in the literature on both CSR and employment relations, namely trade union policies towards CSR, as well as union engagement with particular CSR initiatives and the challenges they face in doing so. The research covers eleven European countries which, when taken together, constitute a representative sample of industrial relations structures across the continent.

    This book will be essential reading for scholars, students and practitioners of international business, employment relations, public policy and CSR. Its foreword is written by Philippe Pochet and Maria Jepsen, Directors of the European Trade Union Institute in Brussels.


    Foreword  1. The Rise of Corporate Social Responsibility as a Challenge for Trade Unions  2. Belgium: Unions questioning the added value of CSR  3. Finland: Positive union engagement with CSR  4. France: State influence over union strategies on CSR  5. Germany: Binding agreements preferable to voluntary CSR  6. Hungary: CSR between socialism and export-oriented MNCs  7. Lithuania: CSR on a wish list  8. Poland: Much risk, little benefit in CSR  9. Slovenia: CSR as a luxury in tough economic times  10. Spain: An opportunity to improve working conditions through CSR  11. Sweden: CSR as non-union arena for union issues  12. United Kingdom: Scepticism and engagement in union positions on CSR  13. European Trade Unions and CSR: Common dilemmas, different responses


    Lutz Preuss is Reader in Corporate Social Responsibility at the School of Management, Royal Holloway University of London, UK

    Michael Gold is Professor of Comparative Employment Relations at the School of Management, Royal Holloway University of London, UK

    Chris Rees is Professor of Employment Relations at the School of Management, Royal Holloway University of London, UK


    'Finally a book that looks at this largely overlooked topic. It’s an essential read for all business practitioners to understand that we can do better than CSR-type paternalism. And trade unionists will enjoy crucial insights into how the rise of CSR can help improve their operations in the second decade of the new millennium.' - Dirk Matten, Professor, York University, Canada

    'Preuss, Gold and Rees have assembled a fine collection of studies on a timely yet understudied topic: the link between trade unions and corporate social responsibility (CSR). By comparing insights from a wide range of European countries, this volume provides a systematic overview of how different trade unions relate to CSR.' - Frank G.A. de Bakker, Associate Professor, VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands