Trade Unions - dealing with change
A UNISON case study

Page 1: Introduction

'Trade unions? Just groups of men who shout a lot and call strikes. They're dinosaurs, unwilling and unable to respond to a changing world. They're finished.' Is that your view of trade unions? Really? And you don't know of trade unions with more women members than men? So: Where has your knowledge and view of trade unions come from? If unions really are dinosaurs, why are they still so...
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Page 2: UNISON´s origins

During the 1980s and early 1990s, British trade unions adapted to meet the challenge of an ideologically hostile Conservative government that introduced legislation aimed at curbing trade union activities. Within various sectors of the UK economy trade unions decided to pool resources rather than stay separate - 'United we stand'. UNISON was formed in July 1993 when three well-established trade...
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Page 3: UNISON´s structure

UNISON is the UK's largest trade union. Its 1.3 million members work in public and other essential services. Over two thirds of UNISON members are women. Members work in several different industries eg local government; healthcare; education; the utilities (electricity, gas, water); transport; the police service; the voluntary sector and call centres. Their occupations vary eg nurses; health...
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Page 4: Challenge of change

A major change and challenge for trade unions in the past 20 years has been the privatisation programme. This has affected public sector workers in particular. Under privatisation, some nationalised industries and some aspects of what had been local government services were sold off or contracted out as separate entities. As a result, many employees found themselves working for a new and very...
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