Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Faith in unions: From safe spaces to organised labour?

an article by Jane Holgate (University of Leeds, UK) published in Capital & Class volume 37 Number 2 (June 2013)


Despite the UK trade union movement’s avowedly secular nature, its antecedents show that religious beliefs greatly influenced many early trade unionists and, in some cases, contributed to the formation of a trade union consciousness.

This paper considers the way trade union leaders in the 19th and 20th centuries drew upon religious teachings of social justice to organise their fellow workers. This context provides background for understanding how today a similar ideological commitment to collectivisation and social justice may be held by workers of faith; and how the adoption of a ‘militant secularism’ by some trade unionists may result in the closing of these conceptual spaces.

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