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Seizing an Opportunity? Union Organizing Campaigns in Britain, 1998-2000

[Edmund Heery] and Melanie Simms
Labor History, 52, 1, 23-47


The Employment Relations Act 1999 seemingly presented UK unions with an opportunity to reverse their long-term decline in membership. This article examines union responses to this change and uses original survey evidence to investigate union organizing campaigns. It explores the targeting, resourcing, objectives, methods and employer responses to union organizing activity in the UK between 1998 and 2004. The evidence indicates a complex pattern, in which experimentation with new methods and organizing to increase the diversity of union membership are balanced by conservatism in the selection of targets and the allocation of only modest resources to the task of union renewal.