Based on micro-level analysis of the developments in the steel sector in Poland, Romania and Slovakia, this paper examines the effects of multinational corporations (MNCs) on labour unions in Central and Eastern Europe. It makes a three-fold argument. First, it shows that union weakness can be attributed to unions’ strategies during the restructuring and privatization processes of postcommunist transition. Consequently, tactics used for union regeneration in the West are less applicable to CEE. Rather, the overcoming of postcommunist legacy is linked to the power of transnational capital. Through attritional and enabling effects, ownership by MNCs forces the unions to focus their efforts on articulating workers’ interests. The paper examines the emerging system of industrial relations in the sector and explores the development of the capabilities needed to overcome postcommunist legacies.

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Post-print Article

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DOI: 10.1177/0959680114524204

Full Citation: Sznajder Lee, Aleksandra, and Vera Trappmann. "Overcoming Postcommunist Labour Weakness: Attritional and Enabling Effects of MNCs in Central and Eastern Europe." European Journal of Industrial Relations 20, no. 2 (June 2014): 113-29. doi: 10.1177/0959680114524204.