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Pressure Groups (Politics A Level): Trade Unions

Trade Union image

Trade Unions

"Collective organizations of workers whose purpose is to substitute a collective bargain for separate individual bargaining and thereby maintain and improve the standard of living of their members. They act as defensive organizations set up to counteract the economic weakness of propertyless wage‚Äźearners as unorganized individuals."

Burnham, P. (2018). Trade unions. In A Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics and International Relations. : Oxford University Press. Retrieved 11 Apr. 2020, from https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780199670840.001.0001/acref-9780199670840-e-1397

(sign in to Oxford Reference via Subscription Databases page to view full article)

 

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

How to use this page

The resources on this page have been carefully selected to help you with your investigation, while you may choose to look at other resources there is no need to, and you should certainly start with these. The resources are divided into:

  • Specific resources for named groups (BMA, UNISON, UNITE). You may want to start here to gather some basic information on your individual group. Note that external resources provided will often be largely critical of the organisation. This is because the organisation's own website is usually a very good source of positive stories so, for balance, it is important to source negative stories externally.
  • Resources for Trade Unions in general. These resources are specifically about Trade Unions and will be useful for developing your argument about the extent to which Trade Unions have a positive or negative influence and how you might like this to change.
  • General resources. These resources apply to all four categories of group, and will help you to think about how the different categories of pressure group fit together and what the role of Trade Unions is within this. There are two very good Politics Review articles in this section that are worth reading.

The Planning your article box to the right is identical to the one on The Orwell Youth Prize (OYP) page, and contains the Investigative Journal and Research Organiser that you will need to fill in as you do your investigation and plan your article. Make sure you refer back to the advice on the Orwell Youth Prize (OYP) page before you start to write your article.

Specific resources for named groups

undefinedThe BMA's own website is a good source of factual information about features such as goals, structure and funding (explore the links from this page - also look at the What we do link at the top). Clearly there will be an element of bias so it must be used in conjunction with other sources when forming judgements and opinions. Make sure you explore the links at the top of the page to find out what the BMA says about its own successes.

Reference: British Medical Association. (2020). About us. Retrieved from BMA: https://www.bma.org.uk/about-us


undefinedWhy I don’t trust the BMA – and why it matters (PMFA Journal, 2017)

The PMFA is a niche but reputable journal, however this is an opinion piece by a Junior Doctor. It provides an important perspective but does not claim to give a balanced argument.

Reference: Dhariwal, A. (2017, January 24). Why I don’t trust the BMA – and why it matters. Retrieved from The PMFA Journal: https://www.thepmfajournal.com/blog/post/why-i-don-t-trust-the-bma-and-why-it-matters


undefinedDoctors' leaders created 'toxic' workplace, says damning report (People Management, 2019)

People Management is the magazine of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and can be regarded as a reputable source.

Reference: Churchill, F. (2019, October 21). Doctors’ leaders created ‘toxic’ workplace, says damning report. Retrieved from People Management: https://www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/news/articles/doctors-leaders-created-toxic-workplace

Unison logo

 

UNISON's own website is a good source of factual information about features such as size, structure and methods. Clearly there will be an element of bias so it must be used in conjunction with other sources when forming judgements and opinions. Make sure you explore the links at the top of the page to find out what UNISON says about its own successes.

Reference: UNISON. (2020). About. Retrieved from unison.org: https://www.unison.org.uk/about/


Guardian Trade Unions articleAdapt or die: a new breed of trade union can save the fossils of old (The Guardian, 2018)

 

The Guardian is a left-centre source rated high for factual reporting by mediabiasfactcheck.com.

 

Reference: Harris, J. (2018, March 19). Adapt or die: a new breed of trade union can save the fossils of old. The Guardian. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/19/new-breed-trade-union-rmt-unite-unison

 


undefinedUNISON (Brtiannica, 2020)

Brief, factual entry in Encyclopaedia Britannica, a trusted and authoritative source. (For login details for Britannica, see our Subscription Databases page.)

Reference: UNISON. (2020). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from https://school.eb.co.uk/levels/advanced/article/UNISON/389460

UNITE logo

 

 

UNITE's own website is a good source of factual information about features such as goals, size, structure and methods. Clearly there will be an element of bias so it must be used in conjunction with other sources when forming judgements and opinions. Make sure you explore the links at the top of the page to find out what UNITE says about its own successes.

Reference: UNITE. (2020). Who we are and what we stand for. Retrieved from unitetheunion.org: https://unitetheunion.org/who-we-are/

Resources for Trade Unions in general


Do British Trade Unions have any real power (Politics Review, 2014)

Politics Review is a magazine aimed at A-Level students, usually accessed through our Subscription Databases page. It should be regarded as a reliable source. Note that this article is more than 5 years old.

Reference: Hobson, J. (2014, November). Do British trade unions have any real power? Politics Review (supplement), 24(2), pp. 1-3.


Bill ShankleyFor a shining example of Trade Unionism, look no further than football (Guardian, 2014)

Although this article is exclusively about the PFA, it is a really good case study of the positive impact a Trade Union can have. The Guardian is a left-centre source rated high for factual reporting by mediabiasfactcheck.com. Note this article is more than 5 years old.

Reference: O'Hagan, E. M. (2014, August 21). For a shining example of trade unionism, look no further than football . Retrieved from The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/21/trade-unionism-professional-footballer-association


The candidate book coverThe Candidate: Jeremy Corbyn's Improbable Path to Power (Chapter 8) (Nunns, 2018)

This book was made available as an e-book by JSTOR during the 2020 lockdown, but is not part of our current subscription so is no longer available online. However, a physical copy is available to borrow from the Library should you wish to read it.

This book chapter is a very easy and informative read, but is extension material about how Trade Unions have influenced the Labour Party. Although OR books is a relatively new (2009) print-on-demand publisher, the presence of the book on JSTOR gives it some credibility, and it received favourable reviews in major national newspapers (e.g. "very well-researched narrative, widely sourced but written from a supportive perspective" from The Times Literary Supplement). It should be regarded as a largely reliable source with some bias in favour of Jeremy Corbyn.

 

Reference: Nunns, A. (2018). Power in a union. In The Candidate: Jeremy Corbyn's Improbable Path to Power (pp. 141-162). New York; London: OR Books. Retrieved April 12, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctv62hfs6.11

 

General resources


undefinedPressure Groups: Do they strengthen pluralist democracy? (Politics Review, 2015)

This article has case studies of the CBI and 38 degrees specifically, but is also a good general discussion of pressure groups and democracy.

Politics Review is a magazine aimed at A-Level students, usually accessed through our Subscription Databases page. It should be regarded as a reliable source. Note that this article is more than 5 years old.

Reference: Rathbone, M. (2015, November). Pressure groups: Do they strengthen pluralist democracy? Politics Review, 25(2), pp. 2-5.


Politics ReviewUK pressure groups and democracy (Politics Review, 2019)

Politics Review is a magazine aimed at A-Level students, usually accessed through our Subscription Databases page. It should be regarded as a reliable source.

Reference: Tomes, A. (2019, April). UK pressure groups and democracy. Politics Review, 28(4), pp. 6-9.

 

 


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The UK's changing democracy (Democratic Audit, 2018)

This is a long report, but you only need to look at the chapter on The Interest Group Process (pages 112-121). You could also search within the publication (using the shortcut "ctrl+F" as usual) for particular phrases such as Think Tank, Trade Union or Lobbyists. This document is least relevant for Cyberactivist groups.

Democratic Audit describes itself as "an independent research organisation based at the London School of Economics.", having moved there from the University of Essex. It is funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust. Its attachment to a well-respected University gives it credibility and it has a generally good reputation online with other credible organisations.

Reference: Dunleavy, P., Park, A. and Taylor, R. (eds) (2018) The UK's Changing Democracy: The 2018 Democratic Audit. London: LSE Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31389/book1

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