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NEW PODCASTS: The future of trade unions – masterclass series

Revitalising trade unions depends on new ideas and learning from what works. A new series of podcasts co-produced with Unions 21 presents new insights on key issues facing unions.

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Unions 21, Beyond Trafficking and Slavery, and the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) at the University of Sheffield have teamed up to produce a new series of trade union masterclass podcasts.

Unions 21 will release new episodes every Monday for the next five weeks, each with a different senior union leader or academic working on union organising. Styled as ‘mini-TED talks’, the topics will range from the need for a renaissance of private sector bargaining, cross-border trade unionism, and union governance to the importance of union learning and education programmes, and how unions can effectively use mobile apps and games.

The podcasts are part of BTS and SPERI’s on-going collaboration on the future of union organisation. Each episode begins with a short talk from our guest and ends with analysis from Becky Wright and Simon Sapper from Unions 21 and Tom Hunt from SPERI.

The first podcast is out today (6 August) and the series will run until 3 September, with a new episode released every Monday. Listen in on the Unions 21 website or subscribe via your preferred podcast provider using this link: https://unions21.podbean.com/feed.xml

Our guests over the next five weeks

Mike Clancy, general secretary of the Prospect trade union. Mike’s talk focuses on the importance of collective voice at work and the imperative for unions to focus on reviving collective bargaining in the private sector.

Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union. Mary highlights the importance of unions providing learning opportunities for their members and why learning must be built into unions and not considered a bolt-on.

Peter Bloom, senior lecturer and head of the Department of People and Organisations at the Open University. Peter discusses why unions should embrace popular mobile apps like WhatsApp that enable members to self-organise, and how unions can use online games to spread knowledge.

• Garry Elliott, head of organising at Nautilus International. Garry talks about how Nautilus, a union for maritime professionals in the UK, Netherlands and Switzerland, operates across borders and the success it has had negotiating with Shell International.

Claire Sullivan, director of employment relations at the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. Claire discusses why union governance structures are critical for member engagement and to ensure a union is able to focus on its members’ priorities.

The Unions 21 podcast

The Unions 21 podcast is by and for trade unionists. Each episode provides a review of the latest news from the labour movement and features in-depth interviews with trade union leaders and activists, academics and commentators.

About the author

Tom Hunt is Policy Research Officer, Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI).


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