Trade-union internationalism and international employer loyalty. The Swedish textile and garment industry and the European integrations 1957–1995

The project focuses industrial relation in the post-war Swedish textile and clothing industry, as regards European integration processes and within a context of sector specific structural crisis. It studies the efforts of Swedish actors to sway international competition by acting on international arenas, as well as their determination to influence the movements of labour, capital and goods within sectors of the labour market that were characterised by a large degree of young female migrant workers. Thereby, the project illuminates the mutual relationship between national trade unions and employer associations, and their international forums respectively: international trade secretariats and international employer organisations. From an intersectional point of view, considering class, ethnicity, gender and age, it explores the meaning of trade-union internationalism and international employer cooperation, as well as the boundaries of trade-union solidarity and employer loyalty. By extension, the project analyses how international contacts and negotiations affected Swedish labour-market relations in textile- och clothing industries.The project considers the national and international labour-market organisations concerned partly as arenas for internal discussions, partly as actors with the ability to communicate externally with one single voice. An important research assignment is thus to discern those internal discussion and negotiations processes, which lay the foundations for external communications – i.e. lobbyism in relation to the European integrations. Therefore, the primary sources consist of both internal organisational material (minutes, memos and correspondence) and trade union and employer publications (periodicals and bulletins). In time, the project sets out from the parallel processes of European integrations initiated by the Rome Treaties in 1957 and EFTA in 1960, and it follows the development until Sweden enters the European Union in 1995.

Total funding

3,800,000 kr

Funding body


Research field

Social Sciences

Economics and Business

Funding period

1 January 2020-31 December 2022

Project leader

Johan Svanberg

Coordinating organisation

Stockholm University

Type of funding