The New Generation of Trade Union Leaders and Prospects for Union Revitalization
Version of Record online: 29 APR 2004
British Journal of Industrial Relations
Volume 42, Issue 2, pages 379–397, June 2004
How to Cite
Charlwood, A. (2004), The New Generation of Trade Union Leaders and Prospects for Union Revitalization. British Journal of Industrial Relations, 42: 379–397. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8543.2004.00319.x
- Issue online: 29 APR 2004
- Version of Record online: 29 APR 2004
- Final version accepted 5 February 2004.
The year 2003 was widely perceived as the year of the ‘awkward squad’— a group of recently elected union leaders more prepared than their predecessors to challenge New Labour. It was also a year in which unions were perceived to have experienced the beginnings of a recovery. In this review I argue that both of these perceptions are misplaced. The new generation of union leaders are a more disparate bunch than the ‘awkward squad’ label implies. The unions they lead remain seriously weakened by a harsh and inhospitable environment. Union recovery is unlikely unless the environment changes or the new union leaders can succeed against the odds in changing the environment through political activity.