AbstractThe topic of this thesis is trade unions that organise employees of EU institutions. There are several trade unions, also known as staff unions that only organise the staff of these institutions. They have received almost no scientific attention, and therefore, this study is of an explorative nature. However, four theoretical perspectives are introduced in order to interpret the empirical data. The study contributes to our understanding of EU through describing previously unknown actors within EU, and describing the relationship between employees and their employer in EU institutions. This relationship can be understood as a structure found at the national level that also exists on the EU level.
The study is based on the staff unions in the Commission in Brussels as a selection of all staff unions in EU institutions. The six staff unions examined are: Union Syndicale (US), Renouveau et Démocratie (R&D), Fédération de la Fonction Publique Européenne (FFPE), Association des Fonctionnaires Indépendants pour la Défense de la Fonction Publique Européenne (TAO/AFI), Syndicat des Fonctionnaires Européens (SFE) and Syndicat des Fonctionnaires Internationaux (SFIE).
Empirical data on who these staff unions are, how they work, and whether they are able to influence EU decision-making, is presented. The empirical data builds on interviews with staff union representatives, and one Commission official, and various documents. The staff unions are described through characteristics such as political ideology, organisation, size, and membership basis. There are two systems that the staff unions work within: The staff representation and the concertation. The staff representation is a system where representatives of staff give advice on practical matters in the running of the institution. The concertation is a system of negotiations between the staff unions and the institutions on changes that affect the staff policy of the institution. The staff unions’ influence is limited to their ability to shape changes in the staff policy area of EU decision-making. A small case study of the staff unions’ influence on the administrative reform of the Commission is presented.
Four theoretical perspectives are applied to the empirical data in order to provide interpretations of the data. The four perspectives used are a liberal intergovernmental perspective, institutional perspectives, an organisational perspective and the multi level governance perspective. The liberal intergovernmental perspective contradicts the presence and influence of the staff unions, while the other perspectives present complementary interpretations of the empirical data.