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Title: Managerial and mobilising internationalism in British trade unions
Author: Umney, Charles Riou
ISNI:       0000 0004 2745 7078
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis seeks to develop a theoretical understanding of the ways in which British trade unions have sought to operate internationally as a response to political and economic globallsatton. A two-staged research process is elaborated, based initially on wide-ranging exploratory interviews and then on comparative case studies conducted in the docks and maritime sector. Through this research, two distinct types of international activity are identified, termed 'managerial internationalism' and 'mobilising internationalism'. In the former case, a distinct layer of full-time officials is tasked with administering international strategies. These strategies are generally divined from membership priorities and therefore follow highly visible political, regulatory or normative concerns. In the latter case, union leaders seek to establish member-led international networks that can mobilise against multinational employers. Managerial internationalism is argued to arise where unions possess a relatively high degree of marketplace power. Mobilising internationalism, by contrast, is more likely to arise where marketplace power is under threat. In the latter case, particular 'moments of tension' may emerge- for example where a multinational employer seeks to use its mobility to whipsaw concessions from local workplaces- which union leaders can then seek to frame as demanding an international, rather than local, response. Mobilising internationalism is therefore argued to be dependent on leader agency as well as material labour market conditions. Because it is generated by such materially-conditioned 'moments of tensions', mobilising internationalism is held to be constrained by temporal and spatial limitations. It is dependent on the emergence of specific and finite grievances to galvanise member support for mobilisation. This analysis represents a dialectical understanding of international trade unionism, in that qualitative transformations in union strategy are held to reflect shifts in the underlying balance of class power between worker and employer.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available