This book explores the role of trade unions as products of, and agents for, democracy. The crisis facing established democratic institutions in advanced societies has been widely noted. In response, there has been increasing interest in the role of civil society actors, ranging from established socio-political collectives to new grassroots organisations. On the one hand, conventional wisdom holds that organised labour in advanced societies has remained locked in a cycle of political marginalisation and decline. On the other hand, unions continue to represent a significant component of society within most industrialised countries. Indeed, in many cases, they have demonstrated a capacity for effective renewal and for co-ordinating their efforts with other civil society actors as part and parcel of the current groundswell of public opinion against the neo-liberal orthodoxy.
Trade Unions and democracy brings together a distinguished panel of leading and emerging scholars in the field, and provides a critical assessment of the current role of unions in society, their capacity to impact on state policies in such a manner as to ensure greater accountability and fairness, and the nature and extent of internal representative democracy within the labour movement.