Collectivism and the Labour Movement

Trades council member publishes research in peer-reviewed journal discussing the role of collectivism in the labour movement.

On Tuesday 17 February the University of Huddersfield officially launched its first peer-reviewed journal Fields. This journal has centred on high quality student research from a wide range of subjects in the institution. Within this first volume I have contributed an article titled To What Extent Does the Ideological Construct of Collectivism Continue to Govern the British Trade Union and Labour Movement?  This article specifically looks at the changing role of collectivism within the labour movement.

The topic of the labour movement, and trade unionism in particular, I felt was quite an important topic to visit. Over the summer Thomas Piketty’s book Capital in the Twenty First Century drew attention to the issue of inequality within contemporary society. By the end of last year Richard Wilkinson – author of the Spirit Level – published a Fabian pamphlet making a direct link between trade union decline and increased inequality.

Recently I did a talk at Huddersfield Labour party discussing my article where a member of the audience remarked “I don’t think we’ve had a discussion on trade unions since the miners’ strike.” Therefore I think now is the perfect time to re-address and re-evaluate trade unions and the positive role they play in society.

Within my research I have discussed the declining role of collectivism within the British Labour Party and trade union movement. I hypothesised that due to changes in the structures of capitalism trade unions have had to individualise some of their foundations leading to a decline of collectivism. I also hypothesised that due to these changes Labour have also altered their traditional collectivist position – to most readers this will seem more apparent.

In order to test these hypotheses I conducted interviews with experienced shop stewards varying in age, occupation and gender. These interviews highlighted that whilst the labour movement has undoubtedly changed and individualised, notions of collectivism are still present but its meaning has transformed. If trade unions can harness these new interpretations it could develop a new way of crafting collective social identities which could be used for mobilisation.

This conclusion I felt was an important intervention to what has currently been written on the topic. In order to download this article for free follow the link below.

Will Kaufman plays Woody Guthrie – Social Event in York

Dear friends,

York TUC have been working in co-operation with York Labour Party to arrange a social event
for all members to enjoy!

Join us at Clements Hall on Saturday 28th February for a fabulous show by the very highly regarded Will Kaufman.
Will takes his show all over the world! From America to Finland – From folk clubs to festivals –

Presenting a captivating ‘live documentary’ of the legendary American artist Woody Guthrie –
An ardent equal-rights campaigner through music and actions, Guthrie is as relevent today as he was in the 1930s.

Please see Will’s website for more details: Continue reading Will Kaufman plays Woody Guthrie – Social Event in York

Picturehouse Cinemas living wages campaign – Living Wage coming to West Norwood

We’ve had an update on BECTU’s Living Wage campaign in Picturehouse Cinemas from the Going to Work website. It’s one step closer for Trade Union members at York’s City Screen.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: “BECTU campaigns via Going to Work” <>
Date: Jan 8, 2015 4:13 PM
Subject: Picturehouse Cinemas living wages campaign – Living Wage coming to West Norwood

Dear Friends,

There’s been a significant development in BECTU’s campaign to win a living wage for all workers in the Picturehouse cinema chain.

A new branch of Picturehouse being opened later this year in West Norwood, south London, will pay its staff the London Living Wage. This isn’t a sudden change of heart from Picturehouse though. It’s the result of Lambeth Council responding to growing public concern and actually making the Living Wage a condition for granting the necessary planning permission. Continue reading Picturehouse Cinemas living wages campaign – Living Wage coming to West Norwood


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