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This article analyses management–union–worker relations in a foreign-owned Moldovan clothing factory. Studies of post-socialist industrial relations have focused on explaining labour quiescence, advancing ‘path dependence’ and ‘Soviet legacy’ arguments. These draw attention to strong links between management and unions, and weak relations between the latter and workers. We show how the union has, in one case, drawn creatively on Soviet legacies to develop strong articulation between itself and women workers. This was part of a wider adaptive strategy within which the union transformed the meaning of previous functions and developed novel ones. The outcome is a well-organized representative union capable of challenging management at the negotiating table, as well as on the shop floor. This seems unlikely to be universal but equally unlikely to be unique.

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Journal Article

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