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Interest formation in greenfield union organising campaigns

Melanie Simms

Industrial Relations Journal, Vol 38, 5, 434-545


 This article examines the processes by which unions come to express the interests of workers during organising campaigns. Evidence from five longitudinal cases shows the central importance of officials and organisers. Three key reasons for this are explored: the need for expert knowledge in organising campaigns, the fact that officials and organisers are well placed to identify and to construct common interests among a diversity of interest groups, and the fact that the training they receive explicitly encourages this role. Furthermore, it is argued that this helps explain some of the difficulties observed in organising campaigns specifically; the limitations of campaigns that primarily focus at workplace level, and the relatively narrow definition of collective interests that this approach encourages.