The future of the left since 1884

A New Collectivism: The Future of Trade Unions

Discussing the challenges facing trade unions and the innovations they need to thrive. Organised by the Changing Work Centre – a joint research initiative from Community and the Fabian Society.



Listen to the audio here.

Caroline Flint MP, Anna Turley MP, Sue Ferns, Prospect’s deputy general secretary, and Antonia Bance, the TUC’s head of campaigns and communications, will discuss the challenges facing trade unions and the innovations they need to thrive.

Legislation, industrial change and shifting attitudes have made the future of trade unions uncertain. Falling membership, especially in the private sector, is particularly concerning. Yet trade unions remain the most powerful tool at workers’ disposal, providing empowerment through collective organisation to protect workers’ interests and rights while also ensuring successful negotiations with employers. For unions to thrive in this new industrial era, they must adapt and reform to best serve and attract a new generation of workers.

Reversing 40 years of decline will take more than changing individual union practice, it will also require legislation and social attitudes towards work and unions to change. The argument for collectivism at work needs to be won again. However, union decline is by no means inevitable, unions remain the UK’s largest voluntary movement and a significant force in the labour market. Unions have already started innovating and reaching out to new workers and workplaces with initiatives such as Community’s services for freelancers and Unite’s ‘bogus self-employment unit’. This event asks what the future of trade unions is and what can be done to promote their growth?

Online registration is not available for this event


Caroline Flint MP

Caroline Flint is the Labour MP for Don Valley.


Antonia Bance

Antonia Bance is head of campaigns and communications at the TUC.


Sue Ferns

Sue Ferns is deputy general secretary of Prospect.


Anna Turley

Anna Turley is the chair of the North East Child Poverty Commission and the former Labour MP for Redcar


Jason Brock

Jason Brock is a former senior researcher at the Fabian Society and is currently Labour leader of Reading Borough Council.


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