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Devolution and the Trades Union Congress in the north east region of England and Wales

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Andy Pike, Dr Peter O'Brien, Professor John Tomaney



From a position of relative isolation, trade unions have become increasingly important agents in sub-national and regional development and governance in the UK since the election of the New Labour government in 1997. Comparative analysis of the experience of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) in the North East of England and Wales suggests that devolution and regionalisation are exerting increasing pressures upon such trade union federations to adopt a multi-level approach to organisation across a range of scales – local, sub-regional, regional, sub-national, national and international – in order to connect with the evolving multi-layered governance structures of the UK political economy. Strategic multi-level organisation suggests the decentralisation of power, authority and resources within the labour movement – challenging the national and centralised legacy of its collective bargaining history – to build the links between engagement in devolved governance and trade union renewal. Our argument is that devolved governance has re-shaped existing and opened up new channels for the engagement of trade union federations, to a degree reproducing many of the central issues of class logics of collective action for labour beyond the employment relation and the workplace into the realm of devolved economic and social governance.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Pike AJ, O'Brien P, Tomaney J

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Economic governance post-devolution: differentiation or convergence?

Year of Conference: 2003

Date deposited: 16/10/2008

Publisher: Regional Studies Association