Javascript is not activated in your browser. This website needs javascript activated to work properly.
You are here

The Swedish Trade Union System in Transition: High but Falling Union Density

  • Anders Kjellberg
  • Craig Phelan
Publishing year: 2007
Language: English
Pages: 259-286
Publication/Series: Trade Union Revitalisation: Trends and Prospects in 34 Countries
Document type: Book chapter
Publisher: Peter Lang Publishing Group
Additional info: Anders Kjellbergs hemsida Information om boken
Bokens innehållsförteckning ERRATA (1): The Swedish Mediation Office (Mediation Institute) was founded in the year 2000 (not in 2001 as mentioned at p. 277).
Errata (2): under Suggested Reading p. 285 Thörnqvist, C. (1999) should be author of the article in European Journal of Industrial Relations.

Abstract english

The chapter on Sweden in this book on trade union revitalisation in 34 countries analyzes the Swedish model of industrial relations and its current challenges, among them the falling union density. The recent development of industrial relations is characterized in terms of a new mix of decentralisation and centralisation and of self-regulation and state regulation.

Contents of the Swedish chapter:

1. Introduction

2. Separate White-Collar Unions and Confederations

3. Combined Centralisation and Decentralisation

4. Self-Regulation

5. Union Unemployment Funds

6. Very High but Declining Union Density

7. Declining Coverage of Union Workplace Organisations

8. A New Mix of Decentralisation and Centralisation, and of Self-Regulation and State Regulation

9. Other Challenges to Unions

10. Union Responses and Future Prospects


  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
  • Swedish model
  • TCO
  • sociology
  • arbetsliv
  • state regulation
  • arbetsmarknad
  • centralisation
  • union movement
  • decentralisation
  • sociologi
  • industrial relations
  • trade unions
  • a-kassa
  • facklig organisationsgrad
  • blue-collar workers
  • union unemployment fund
  • SACO
  • fackförening
  • Ghent system
  • white-collar workers
  • fackförbund
  • LO
  • self-regulation
  • union density
  • sociologiska institutionen
  • department of sociology
  • svenska modellen


  • Union Density in a Global Perspective
  • ISBN: 978-3-03911-009-4
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
Visiting address: Sandgatan 11, House G, Lund
Postal address: Box 114 , SE-221 00 LUND, SWEDEN
Telephone: Student Office +46 46-222 88 44, Lund University Switchboard +46 46-222 00 00

Faculty of Social Sciences