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Imagined solidarities: Where is class in union organising?

Melanie Simms
Capital & Class, 36, 1, 97-115


This paper argues that the 'turn to organising' in British unions over the past decade has largely ignored the broader questions of the purpose of such activity. As a consequence, unions have mainly focused on building solidarities between workers in their individual workplaces rather than developing a wider view of workers' interests and the objectives of that solidarity. Using Hyman's typology of union identities (2001), it is evident that 'class' identity has largely been sidelined in debates about union renewal in Britain. The paper argues that this limits the scope of union renewal both in practice and in theory.