New Unionism Network UK

Linked on or blogs with Call-centre Labour in a Global Economy.

New unionism is about organizing, internationalism and workplace democracy. Bringing these together requires creativity. Taken together, this is the practice of New Unionism … (full long text What is New Unionism).

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Unionism 101: Unionism is about workers standing together to improve their situation, and to help others. 

It’s not rocket science, in fact its pretty instinctive behaviour. However, there are almost always restrictions of some kind imposed, and so the nitty gritty of unionism differs from country to country.

Some unions have developed as reactive institutions: waiting for the employer to act and then choosing how to respond. Others are proactive: developing an independent agenda and then advancing this in whatever ways are possible.

Most unions accept that both approaches are valid. Depending on your country and your union’s level of influence, becoming a union member can mean:

Being reactive:

  • seeking improved working conditions
  • resisting unfair changes at work
  • pushing for higher pay
  • campaigning in support of other workers
  • demanding better health and safety protection
  • exposing cases of harassment or bullying

Becoming proactive:

  • taking steps to make the workplace more democratic
  • pushing for changes in workplace culture
  • striving to improve workplace relationships
  • developing pro-environment proposals
  • seeking fairer systems for decision-making
  • surveying staff for stress/overload levels
  • pressing for ethical and socially responsible behaviour

Because unions are democratic, workplace members need to discuss these options (and any others which members identify) and then define their own goals. It is the job of uour union official to help in this process.

A union is only as strong as its membership. Deciding not to join, or putting the decision off, weakens your colleagues’ voice. In order to make change, unions need you as much as you need them.

Joining a union: … (full long text).

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