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Title: Meeting the needs of the individual : the nature and diffusion for recent trade union modernisation policies in the UK.
Author: Williams, Steve
ISNI:       0000 0001 2148 6474
Awarding Body: University of Sunderland
Current Institution: University of Sunderland
Date of Award: 1996
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This thesis is an examination of the nature of trade union modernisation policies in the UK based on research largely carried out in the north-east of England. The aim of the research was to identify and assess the ways in which unions - given the substantial diminution of their collective social power in the 1980s and 1990s - have looked to modernise themselves. The research, which is based on semi-structured interviews with union full-time officers, shop stewards and lay representatives, and a questionnaire survey of union members in a local authority, indicates that union modernisation policies - in so far as they are predicated upon an assumption that the revival of the unions is contingent upon their ability to service members as individuals from the centre - are somewhat misplaced. Specifically, the thesis shows, first, that unions have been impelled to adopt a service ethos largely because of their increasing inability to offer collective benefits; second, that the efficacy of more individualised service provision and representation is, however, often dependent upon already-existing strong collective organisation; third, that an alternative approach to modernisation - whereby unions take up some of the issues -flagged up by the new social movements - is fraught with obstacles; and fourth, that 'these modernisation policies - to the extent that they involve a centralisation of power within union hierarchies - might weaken trade unionism where it exists. Although the thesis concludes by questioning the extent to which any kind of modernisation policy can have more than a marginal effect given the hostility of the environment in which the unions have recently been operating, it is argued nonetheless that if they are to survive and thrive in the future unions would be advised to look at how they can best fortify their collective structures.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Labour studies Labor Sociology Human services