The new article Union Organizing in the Automotive Industry in Slovakia in Times of Crisis: Do They Help Workers or Protect Themselves?, by CELSI's Monika Martiskova and Monika Uhlerova (MBU) appears as CPS's Working Paper 6/2016.
In the mid-2000s Slovakia has become the country with the highest production of cars per capita in the world. The impressive growth of the automotive industry led to labor market pressures, with trade unions facing the question of whom to protect: core workers or the increasing pool of flexible employees? This question became even more urgent during the crisis 2008-2009. In this paper we investigate how these labor market challenges have been addressed by the newly established trade union at the KIA plant in Zilina. Based on interviews and descriptive statistics we show that local factors, mostly the high level of unemployment in the region, but also employer's initial unwillingness to participate in social dialogue, contributed to the weakness of the local trade unions. The plant level social dialogue remains rather limited and leads to few gains for the labor force, as the trade union does not have direct access on the plant’s premises.