Media  Podcasts

NEW Bite-Size Masterclasses – The Secret Lives Of Trade Unions!

(Or Everything You Really Wanted to Know But Didn’t Dare Ask!)

Looking back on what is now two complete series of the Unions21 podcast, both Becky Wright and I have been struck by the number of times we’ve wanted to shout “Stop!’ at particular points in our discussions, because we wanted to hang on to a thought or issue, and really chew it over, or draw out just why that particular thing is so important to the labour movement – and therefore to the economy as a whole.

So as a podcast-free summer beckoned, we thought that there was a perfect opportunity to do those “deeper dives’, provide a greater focus, on some key issues that really demand that sort of airing.

Stating today and running over this and the next four Mondays, we present for your further listening pleasure our own bite-sized unions21 masterclasses – a linked series of five shorter-than-usual podcasts on some of the key issues facing unions, from the perspective of some of the sharpest and most experienced minds in the movement.

We kick off this week with Prospect General Secretary Mike Clancy on why and how there must be a renaissance in private sector trade unionism.

Subsequent episodes will feature Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, (on how linking continuing professional development (CPD) to trade union education has revolutionised both), Peter Bloom from the Open University (on how taking a gaming approach to union work  is transformative), Gary Elliott of Nautilus International(on how to successfully organise across international borders) and finally Claire Sullivan of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy(on why good governance matters to unions, and how to achieve it.)

For this series , we have been delighted to welcome the support of the University of Sheffield’s Political Economy Research Institute, known as SPERI, and Beyond Trafficking and Slavery on openDemocracy. (Beyond Trafficking and Slavery is non-profit project combining clear writing with rigourous scholarship to help everyone better understand exploitation in the world of work. Find out more at

In each episode, our masterclass speaker’s comments will be “bookended” by expert analysis from Becky, SPERI’s Tom Hunt, and some assorted comments from yours truly.

As ever the podcasts will be available more -or-less simultaneously on the podbean  and iTunes platforms, plus the Unions21 site. I hope you find them a welcome and gently thought-provoking addition to your summer – please do let us know what you think, share them widely, and, if you can, rate them, on the podcasting platform of your choice.

Thanks for reading and happy listening!

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