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Theorising practice: independent trade unions in the UK

Theorising practice: independent trade unions in the UK

Weghmann, Vera (2022) Theorising practice: independent trade unions in the UK. Work in the Global Economy, 2 (1). pp. 132-147. ISSN 2732-4176 (Online) (doi:

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This Theory into Practice piece uses theoretical underpinnings of Ness as well as Cleaver and Sivanandan to explore the role of two independent trade unions that emerged in the UK in the mid 2010s, namely the Independent Workers of Great Britain (IWGB) in 2012 and the United Voices of the World (UVW) in 2014. Despite being of relatively small size (each has a membership of under 10,000) and with few financial resources, they have been praised for their ground-breaking and ‘significant high-profile wins’ in ‘David and Goliath’ battles. In this article I discuss why low paid, largely migrant workers have organised within these independent unions; and the extent to which they have applied syndicalist tactics and strategies. The analysis is rooted in my practice, as someone who was involved in the IWGB from the start and then co-founded the UVW in 2014.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: independent trade unions; trade union vitalisation; migrant workers organising; precarity
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN1187 Scotland
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Business
Faculty of Business > Centre for Work and Employment Research (CREW)
Faculty of Business > Department of Human Resources & Organisational Behaviour
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2023 01:38

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