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Managed activism: two union organising campaigns in the not-for-profit sector

Melanie Simms

Industrial Relations Journal, Vol 38, 2, 119-135


 Two union recognition campaigns are contrasted: one focusing on developing workplace activism but with little sectoral focus (a 'bottom-up' campaign), and the other with a sectoral strategy and less emphasis on workplace campaigning (a 'top-down' campaign). The outcomes indicate the need for approaches, which allow both a strong workplace activism and a clear sectoral strategy as both the 'top-down' and 'bottom-up' strategies present difficulties. Although there are positive outcomes in both campaigns, the cases show that unions seeking to represent the interests of previously unorganised groups of workers need influence at both the sectoral and workplace levels if they are to demonstrate their effectiveness.