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Facing Up to ThatcherismThe History of NALGO 1979-93$
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Michael Ironside and Roger Seifert

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199240753

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199240753.001.0001

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NALGO—What Kind of Trade Union?

NALGO—What Kind of Trade Union?

(p.1) 1 NALGO—What Kind of Trade Union?
Facing Up to Thatcherism

Mike Ironside

Roger Seifert

Oxford University Press

This chapter sets the scene, laying out the analytical framework and the position on industrial relations. It starts with a brief comment on the context of the National and Local Government Officers Association’s (NALGO) activity, stressing in particular the government’s commitment to neo-liberal policies and the mobilization of state power to implement them. Essentially, the position is that all employed workers are exploited by their employer, and this leads to a discussion on the status of workers as employees and on the nature of waged work. The trade unions are defined as organizations simply by reference to their main function of engaging in collective bargaining. Their purpose in carrying out their function is more contentious, with two main versions of trade unionism reflecting the right and left wings of the labour movement. Lastly, this chapter discusses the nature of white-collar trade unionism and public-sector trade unionism. It also explores the view that some organizations are not trade unions because their members are not exploited–because they are managers, or because they do not work for a capitalist, or because they are not directly involved in production.

Keywords:   NALGO, trade union, trade unionism, labour movement, government policy

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