Friday, 11 January 2013

Union Voices: The Future of Organising in the UK


Pressure of work since the start of the new year has kept me from posting until now, but I am pleased to use this first post of 2013 to focus on an issue of critical importance to the future of labour movements in the UK: for what, who and how should trade unions organise the unorganised?

These questions, and many others form the focus of a critically new important publication, Union Voices: Tensions & Tactics in UK Organising written by Melanie Simms, Jane Holgate and Ed Heery.

I am honoured to have been asked to speak about the book at its launch event on 22nd January (6-8pm) at the TUC. Register here:

Without wanting to give 'the story' away (although many of you will be able to guess the end) the book provides a fascinating insight upon the potential of organised labour under New Labour between 1997-2010 to define and apply a model of renewal sufficient to respond to the onward march of neo-liberalism.

The problem largely of course was that that march was being led by New Labour itself (an account of this more specifically is here: and, as the authors reveal, compelling divergent interests flawed an overwhelming capacity of organised labour to, for example, renew levels of active participation by members, but ultimately to secure a dominant, embedded sense of the future of trade unionism.

Union Voices should be a must-read by all of those within the British trade union movement with responsibility for policy, education and organising.

Working at Ruskin College, and leading an MA for trade union activists and officials, a constant concern however, is the extent to which organised labour isn't always prepared to listen to informed, concerned critical analysis of political, cultural and political impediments to trade union renewal.

Union Voices is written by colleagues with a genuine concern for the future of organised labour in the UK (and internationally) it should in turn be read by, and acted upon, by all and any of those with an influence on this.

In Solidarity


No comments: