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Title: A comparative study of trade union renewal strategies : partnership, organising and social unionism
Author: Byford, Iona Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 2694 3197
Awarding Body: University of the West of England, Bristol
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis comprises a comparative study of three union renewal strategies within unionised workplaces from the worker perspective. The three strategies were partnership, organising and social unionism. The research was undertaken through case studies of the strategies utilising a variety of trade unions and workplaces in combination both in the UK and in Canada. The workplaces were from the private and public sectors, and both the service and manufacturing organisations were represented. The background for the thesis was one of broadly stable union membership figures but with the prediction of future decline from somer esearchersa nd commentators. The researchw as set within the contexto f current governmentn eo-liberale conomic policy andw ithin an atmosphereth at is toleranto f rathert han positively supportiveo f trade unions and their objectives. The three case studies were analysed under three themes pertinent to renewal. The three themes were worker participation in union affairs, member identification with the union and then an assessment of union effectiveness. Three categories of member who have a particular role to play in the renewal of the union movement were also focussed upon. These three groups were young people, women and union activists. The methodology was from a critical perspective and mixed methods were used. The research data comprised 642 questionnaire responses, 33 interviews and 2 focus groups. The main finding of this research indicated that the social unionism strategy offered the best hope for renewal from the perspective of the rank and file. This was followed by the organising strategy, with partnership being the least successful strategy in terms of renewal as defined in this research. This was based on the collected research data that showed that members experiencing social unionism as a union renewal strategy at their workplace, participated more actively in union affairs, identified more positively with their union and the wider interests of the working class and saw their union as being more effective both at their workplaces and beyond. This is not however to negate the positive effects of the organising and partnership strategies which both contribute to the process of union renewal albeit to a lesser extent. This research contributes to knowledge through the provision of a unique set of comparisons in terms of the combination of strategies, unions and workplaces. Moreover,t his researchi s advancedw ith the view of trying to help strengthent he insights into the position of workers and their unions in terms of their efforts to address the imbalance of power between labour and capital through the process of union renewal.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available