1 June 2019

The National Union of Workers’ Godfrey Moase hopes his union’s proposed merger with United Voice will be more than an administrative paper shuffle, and will instead create new opportunities for organising and community solidarity: “The proposal represents more than a traditional merger between two unions but a radical and transformative proposal that reimagines union structures to be fit for purpose in the precarious world of late capitalism. … Most unions operate on a federated basis with different branches of the same union often having different membership eligibility, demographics of membership and organising capacity. Instead, United Workers Union will be one national union with a single leadership team exercising responsibility over different industry and campaigning teams with a national scope. … Rank-and-file leaders will be elected from organic communities at a scale that reinforces human connections. Moreover, its rules make provision for non-industrial forms of membership, including on a community and political basis.  Contained within the very DNA of the new union are the structures that can make real the new union’s declared aim of putting ‘the voice of the people back at the heart of our economic and political system’.” The risk that ordinary members will be disempowered by the merger of unions into a large, bureaucratic organisation is significant, so it is good to see that efforts are being made to design better structures for the new union.