Felt Job Insecurity and Union Membership: The Case of Temporary Workers

Nele De Cuyper, Hans De Witte, Magnus Sverke, Johnny Hellgren, Katharina Näswall

Abstract


The present study investigates the relationship between felt job insecurity and union membership accounting for potential differences between temporary and permanent workers. Consistent with the idea that felt job insecurity leads workers to seek social protection from the unions, and with earlier studies, we hypothesize a positive relationship between felt job insecurity and union membership (Hypothesis 1). Furthermore, we argue that this relationship may be stronger among temporary compared with permanent workers (Hypothesis 2): insecure temporary workers are in a situation of 'double vulnerability', hence they have strong motives for unionization. Hypotheses are tested in a cross- -sectional sample of 560 Flemish (Dutch-speaking part of Belgium) workers. Our results were as follows: the relationship between felt job insecurity and union membership was not significant. The interaction term between contract type and felt job insecurity was significantly related to union membership: the relationship between felt job insecurity and union membership was positive among temporary workers, but not among permanent workers. This pattern of results may inspire unions to target future recruitment strategies on temporary workers. A route for future research could be to test our hypotheses also longitudinally.

Keywords


contingent employment; fixed-term employment; job insecurity; social protection; union

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Print ISSN 1330-0288 | Online ISSN 1848-6096