Theorising practice: independent trade unions in the UK

Author: Vera Weghmann1
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  • 1 University of Greenwich Business School, UK
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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.

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  • 1 University of Greenwich Business School, UK

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