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Devolution and the Trades Union Congress in North East England and Wales

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


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Trade unions and their collective federations have begun to participate in the devolution and regionalization of government and governance in the UK. This paper examines whether, how and to what extent distinctive "class logics of collective action" are being reproduced beyond the employment relation and the workplace through organized labour's engagement in devolved development and governance. Drawing upon an empirical analysis of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) in North East England and Wales, the argument here is that the extent and nature of trade union federations' substantive interest definitions and participation in devolved development and governance are shaped by the interrelations between labour movement concerns of economic and social justice and the particular nature, type and interests of their trade union affiliates, the centralism of the national TUC, and the openness of devolved institutions to economic and social partner engagement. Trade union federations are building strategy and making interventions that attempt to reconcile the traditional welfarist "politics of redistribution" with the'politics of recognition' in the more complex pluralism of the multi-layered and partnership-based system of government and governance in post-devolution UK. While the links between engagement in devolved development and governance and trade union renewal have yet to be realized, strategic multi-level organization suggests that any decentralization of power, authority and resources within the labour movement has to address the national and centralized legacy of its collective bargaining history. © 2006 Taylor & Francis.

Publication metadata

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

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Regional and Federal Studies

Year: 2006

Volume: 16

Issue: 2

Pages: 157-178

Print publication date: 01/06/2006

ISSN (print): 1359-7566

ISSN (electronic): 1743-9434


DOI: 10.1080/13597560600652049


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