Synopses & Reviews
Identifying the possibilities for, and barriers against, the renewal of unionism in the workplace following a decade of restructuring, this book considers and contrasts workplace trade unionism in three sectors: manufacturing, public services and utilities. The focus on the public sector and utilities, which has been largely overlooked in the literature on trade unionism, is a distinctive feature of this book. The research is centred on the British West Midlands and built around in-depth interviews with leading participants in 24 union groups. The author develops the argument that, far from being irrelevant and marginal, trade unionism is beginning to renew itself in innovative and imaginative ways. In the long run, this is likely to change significantly the pattern of trade unionism in Britain and other capitalist countries.
The past few years have witnessed dramatic changes in the work place, and trade unions have found themselves facing a stark reality. Corporations have down-sized, manufacturing plants have been closed down or relocated, managerial hierarchies have been reconfigured, the state sector has reorganized. In short, unions and union workers face considerable uncertainty about their futures.
Peter Fairbrother examines the impact of restructuring through focused case studies of manufacturing, privatized utility, and public sector jobs in the UK West Midlands. The case studies look at the argument for, and the prospects of, union renewal, which are rooted in the way unions organize, their modes of representation, and the objectives they pursue.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 345-359) and index.