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Militant and moderate trade union orientations: what are the effects on workplace trade unionism, union-management relations and employee gains?

By Nicolas Bacon and Paul Robert Blyton


This paper presents survey findings exploring the claim that trade union militancy will deliver more advantages for unions than moderation (Kelly, 1996). Responses from representatives in two unions reveal militancy is associated with stronger union workplace activity and greater engagement with management in solving operational problems and long-term business strategies. However, there was no evidence that militancy significantly affects many terms and conditions. Moderate trade unionists in this sample were no more likely to hold a unitarist frame of reference. A further factor analysis of the militancy-moderation scale revealed two separate dimensions of militancy - a 'bargaining' and a 'mobilizing' approach. Although finding some expected benefits linked with militancy, different benefits appear to be associated with a bargaining approach and a mobilizing approach. It is suggested the approach taken in collective bargaining may be at least as important as mobilizing union members in securing gains from a militant union strategy

Topics: H1, HD, HD28, JA
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Year: 2002
DOI identifier: 10.1080/09585190110102396
OAI identifier: oai:
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