Transnational Coalitions and Networks: Cooperation between Trade Unions and Social Movements Against Ttip in Europe

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 17:30
Oral Presentation
Giulia GORTANUTTI, Ruhr Universit├Ąt Bochum, Germany
In reaction to the progressive decline of trade unions, cooperation and coalition building with social movements has been described as a means of union revitalization. The start of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations in 2013 marked a point of convergence for such cooperation, as the agreement has the potential of affecting many policy areas other than trade. A European-wide network comprising more than 500 trade unions and social movement organisations has formed to mobilise the protest against TTIP in Europe.

Cooperation against TTIP has been hindered by two main factors. Firstly, there is a horizontal cleavage, as not all trade unions are opposed to it at a fundamental level, particularly those representing export based sectors. In contrast, social movements have a drastically less favourable attitude towards TTIP, thus finding themselves closer to trade unions from non-European countries. Secondly, there is a vertical fragmentation, since protest actions take predominantly place at the national level, so much so that the transnational nature of the mobilisation is sometimes called into question.

Given the number and geographical distribution of the organisations involved, the role played by trade unions in the coalition is difficult to gauge. This paper employs Social Network Analysis (SNA), in the form of hyperlink and website analysis to describe and evaluate the relationships and the connections between coalition members. The paper focuses on the national networks active in Germany and the United Kingdom, as well as the core actors at the transnational European level. SNA methologies and tools are used to sketch graphical representations of the networks, which are then analysed and compared. This paper identifies and describes the central actors in the coalition and it highlights the position of trade unions and labour movement organisations within the wider European network against TTIP.