Contemporary Union Organizing in the UK—Back to the Future?

Saundry, Richard Arthur orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7813-2148 and Wibberley, Gemma orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7827-8227 (2013) Contemporary Union Organizing in the UK—Back to the Future? Labor Studies Journal, 38 (4). pp. 281-299. ISSN 15389758

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Attempts to revitalize trade unions in the UK have had mixed results, leading to calls for more radical organizing strategies. This paper examines a recent organizing campaign in the UK public sector that involved a shift from an approach that focused on the development of rank-and-file leadership and worker engagement to one that prioritized member recruitment. The paper argues that a focus on recruitment is not necessarily inimical to union revitalization, but this depends on the extent to which it is used to develop new activists and to strengthen the ability of local unions to provide effective representation.

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