Thursday, 11 July 2013

British trade unions and the academics: The case of Unionlearn

an article by John McIlroy and Richard Croucher (Middlesex University, UK) published in Capital & Class Volume 37 Number 2 (June 2013)


Unionlearn and union learning representatives were developed by the British TUC to match workers with education and training opportunities, strengthen the economy, foster market inclusion and facilitate social mobility. Their contribution to union revitalisation was emphasised.

This article questions whether, with unions confronting global crisis, this is a necessary initiative.

It stemmed from TUC failure to achieve policy goals, institutional needs, consequent acceptance of a lesser role, and the availability of state finance. Claims by academics that it provides influence over state policy and contributes to revitalisation remain inadequately evidenced.

Union resurgence is not immanent.

The way forward is through adversarial grassroots organising and socialist education, not through retooling capital, improving members’ marketability and partnership with a hostile state.

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