Monday, 24 September 2012

Radical political unionism in France and Britain: A comparative study of SUD-Rail and the RMT

an article by Heather Connolly (De Montfort University) and Ralph Darlington (University of Salford) published in European Journal of Industrial Relations Volume 18 Number 3 (September 2012)


Many recent pessimistic academic assessments of the prospects for the revival of European trade unionism fail adequately to capture evidence of continuing union resilience and combativity in certain areas of employment.

An example is the distinctive and relatively successful form of highly militant and politicised trade unionism which has emerged in both the French and British railway sectors over the last 10 years. This has involved the repeated mobilisation of members through strike action, combined with vigorous left-wing ideological opposition to both employers and government, as the pathway both to both advancing workers’ interests and to revitalising union organization.

This article provides a comparative analysis of SUD-Rail and the RMT, documenting the dynamics, causes, effectiveness, limits and potential of such ‘radical political unionism’ and considers its implications for debates about union renewal.

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