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Intervening in globalisation: the spatial possibilities and institutional barriers to labour's collective agency

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Danny MacKinnonORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Trade unions are facing a series of challenges around place-based forms of work in industries such as construction, transport and public services. New spatial strategies by employers involving corporate reorganization, increased outsourcing and the use of migrant labour, allied to a deepening of neoliberal governance processes are accelerating a race to the bottom in wages and conditions. Drawing upon the experience of two recent labour disputes in the UK—at Heathrow Airport and Lindsey Oil Refinery—we explore the potential for workers to intervene in such globalizing processes. We highlight both the ability of grassroots workers to mobilize their own spatial networks but also their limitations in an increasingly hostile neoliberal landscape.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Cumbers A, Featherstone D, MacKinnon D, Ince A, Strauss K

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Economic Geography

Year: 2016

Volume: 16

Issue: 1

Pages: 93-108

Print publication date: 01/01/2016

Online publication date: 14/10/2014

Acceptance date: 02/09/2014

Date deposited: 31/07/2015

ISSN (print): 1468-2702

ISSN (electronic): 1468-2710

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/jeg/lbu039


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