Labour strategies, cross-border solidarity and the mobility of health workers : Evidence from five New Member States
Shortages of health workers in Western Europe have been addressed, in part, by recruitment from New Member States. In addition to concerns regarding social dumping and cohesion, the loss of human capital and subsequent deleterious impact on services poses a new challenge for trade unions. The aim of this article is to examine the strategies and interventions of health worker trade unions in five countries: Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. Union capacity is analysed through the dimensions of structural power (ability to cause disruption through industrial action); institutional power (lobbying and negotiating with appropriate bodies); and coalitional power (mobilizing support across borders with labour and non-labour organizations). While structural power is generally weak, the deployment of institutional and coalitional power has been more varied across the five countries.