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Title: Shop stewards in local government : the influence of occupation, gender and department on union activism
Author: Lawrence, Elizabeth Hilda
ISNI:       0000 0001 3605 9475
Awarding Body: Sheffield Hallam University
Current Institution: Sheffield Hallam University
Date of Award: 1992
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This thesis is an examination of the influence of gender, department and occupation on union activism among shop stewards in local government, based on research in the Sheffield Local Government branch of NALGO. This research was undertaken to identify factors encouraging and discouraging union office-holding, including those related to shop steward turnover. The research, based on questionnaire and semi-structured interview studies and literature searches, indicates that occupational position and job content, including departmental culture, are the most significant determinants of levels of union activism. This occurs through autonomy at work and the development of skills and self-confidence in higher occupational positions, which facilitate union activism, and through the growth of awareness of social issues, which provides a motivation for union involvement. This latter process occurs especially in departments such as Family and Community Services and Housing. The influence of department is significant in relation to job content and attitudes towards the union. The influence of gender often cannot be separated from the influence of occupation, given the extent to which occupational segregation occurs along gender lines. Nonetheless the findings suggest that gender roles more often influence union activism indirectly via occupational position, where women's lower occupational position presents obstacles to the holding of union office because of practical difficulties in taking time off for union work, than they do directly via socialization or domestic responsibilities. Women's position in many unions, including NALGO, underwent substantial changes in the 1980s, partly as a result of feminism. Nonetheless obstacles to union office-holding remained for women, largely because of occupational position, which led to under-representation of women as shop stewards. This research concludes that women's underrepresentation in union office-holding has its root causes in occupational segregation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Labour studies