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Union density and specialist/professional unions in Sweden

  • Anders Kjellberg
Publishing year: 2008
Language: English
Document type: Conference paper
Additional info: Anders Kjellbergs hemsida An updated and enlarged version was published in July 2013. Read the report here

Abstract english

This paper deals with the considerable membership shifts between the Swedish union confederations LO (blue-collar), TCO (white-collar) and Saco (white-collar), but above all it is about the rising share of union members in occupational/professional unions in the last few decades. This development corresponds to Saco's increased share of union members (8 per cent in 1990, 15 per cent in 2008). Also within TCO occupational/professional unions have increased their share of the members. Among white-collar unions this category of unions today contains a majority of members. Anyhow, the largest Swedish unions are vertical unions including Unionen, the largest TCO union formed by a merger between two other TCO unions. The white-collar confederation TCO has proposed a merger with the rapidly expanding Saco, but the latter has rejected all such invitations. In 1996 an important cooperation agreement was concluded between TCO and Saco paving the way for Saco's membership of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC).


  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
  • Unionen
  • Daco
  • Sif
  • HTF
  • Ledarna
  • PTK
  • Ghent system
  • Industry Agreement
  • white-collar unions
  • specialist unions
  • vertical unions
  • Saco
  • LO
  • TCO
  • industrial relations
  • union density
  • trade unions
  • professional unions
  • professional associations
  • SAF
  • sociology
  • sociologi
  • welfare state
  • blue-collar unions
  • ETUC
  • OFR
  • LR
  • SSR
  • SKTF
  • CF
  • IF Metall
  • SALF
  • Handels


International Workshop: European Trade Unionism in Transition?
2008-09-09 - 2008-09-10
  • Union Density in a Global Perspective
Anders Kjellberg
E-mail: anders [dot] kjellberg [at] soc [dot] lu [dot] se



+46 46 222 88 47



Research projects

Labour Migration, Trade Unions and Employers (FAS/Forte). Anders Kjellberg and Olle Frödin.

Union Density in a Global Perspective Anders Kjellberg

News and News Archive

anders kjellberg's more detailed website in swedish

Google Scholar Citations

Department of Sociology
Lund University
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