Strictly, a situation in which the representation of workers' interests is channelled through a single trade union ; the opposite of trade union pluralism . In a broader sense, the term is also used to refer to the formation of a unitary body encompassing the various unions existing in a given sphere and at a given time, which is compatible with pluralism. In Spain, union unity has often featured among the aims of the trade union movement, but (except when membership of the single existing union was compulsory) has rarely been achieved in practice, even in limited areas or sectors, because of the effect of many different factors (occupational, ideological, territorial, political, denominational) that encourage trade union separatism. Only occasionally have all the major unions co-operated to take united action. Recent exceptions to this tendency have been the creation of the Union Co-ordinating Committee in 1976 and the signing of the Original Union Proposal in the late 1980s by the UGT and CC.OO. confederations. Also, recent years have witnessed, in certain sectors or on the part of groups of workers with very particular characteristics, a strong move towards union amalgamation, mainly with the aim of gaining the legal advantages conferred by representativeness .
Please note: the European industrial relations glossaries were compiled between 1991 and 2003 and are not updated. For current material see the European industrial relations dictionary.