In the latest UnionDues podcast, I chat with Becki Winson of the New Economics Foundation about organising – and especially the crossover between community organising and its trade union equivalent.
Using her experience with Birmingham’s Druids Heath residents, we can see how the tactics they use to get their city council landlords to pay attention to their needs are closely related to those used by council staff unions in negotiations with their employer.
In both cases, organising is of vital importance in empowering people to gain more control over their lives – and, according to Becki, that process of empowerment drives member-led campaigning so successfully executed by so-called “new unions” like the IWGB and UVW.
Becki describes “the energy and power of withholding labour” as a key ingredient in the success of new unions in recruiting traditionally hard-to-reach members, but is there a limit to this “sword of justice” approach?
What happens when campaigns fail? Or have had a successful outcome and then wind down? Is it possible to balance servicing with organising, getting on with getting even? Listen to the podcast to find out more.
We also look at the evidence pointing towards a massive employment crisis, even with the support of Covid-related emergency measures, and set out why the TUC’s Better Recovery with its call for a national recovery council, is a turning point for the UK labour movement.
The unions are back, said Frances O’Grady this week, but the truth is we never went away.
What is different now is that there is renewed and greatly expanded member-led, community-led pressure for a rebalancing of Britain – a drive to create an environment in which collective voice, activity and membership can flourish and be heard.
You can contact Becki at Rebecca.Winson@neweconomics.org . Their web-site is www.neweconomics.org . The TUC’s call for a national recovery council and other recommendations is here, and Frances’s comments were reported here. Economic analysis is provided by endless institutions and think tanks, but the Office of Budget Responsibility and the Bank of England are amongst the better established.
The petition to protect the East Sussex Fire and rescue Service is here.
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