HeartUnions Week 2019

February 15, 2019

In the latest Unions21 podcast,  as we come to the end of this year’s TUC  HeartUnions  week, Becky and Simon look at some of the many things that have been going on to highlight the good and wonderfully varied things that unions do. A Makes You Think production


New Workers’ Rights dissected and 2018 in review w/ Becky Wright & Simon Sapper

December 21, 2018

In the season finale, and last episode of 2018, Becky Wright and Simon Sapper look at the Government’s new commitments on worker rights– and highlight what really needs to happen to address one-sided flexibility in employment.  We also look back over a memorable podcasting year, with the help of Michele Stanistreet ,Gavin Kelly and Charlotte Bence,and lay out a roadmap for work on Collective Worker Voice and other matters in 2019.  A peaceful and happy new year to all our listeners. A Makes-You-Think production


How Collective Bargaining Controls Algorithms & Other Tales From Sweden

December 10, 2018

In the latest Unions21 podcast, Becky Wright and Simon Sapper explore how collective bargaining can control the use of algorithms with Fredrik Nilson and Fredrik Soederqvist from Swedish union Unionen. Just how did they make that happen and recruit 100,000 extra members as well?  And most importantly of all – could it happen here too? A Makes-you-Think production.


Organising, Comms and Strategic Choice w/ Vic Barlow

November 30, 2018

In the latest Unions 21podcast, Becky Wright and Simon Sapper talk with Vic Barlow about the unbreakable links between organising and communications -and how notions of strategic choice underpin both.  Drawing on her work for teaching unions  ATL and NEU, Vic gives us a masterclass in good practice in this vital area for unions and all membership organisations. A Makes-You-Think production


Lifting The Lid On The Low Pay Commission

November 12, 2018

In the latest Unions21podcast, Becky Wright grills the three trade union members of the Low Pay Commission  - Kate Bell, Kay Carberryand our own Simon Sapper– on the process and politics of recommending increases in the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage.  Hear how such a blatant intervention in the labour market has delivered for the poorest paid in our society – and many more besides. A Makes-You-Think production.

If you have something to say on low pay – either a piece of research,  or a suggestion for people or places the Commission should talk to -  then please do get in touch with the Commission secretariat.


Lessons for everyone in Equity’s fight against low pay - w/ Charlotte Bence

October 29, 2018

British film, tv and theatre is a big, big success story; a source of national pride, entertaining and audiences across the world and earning millions for the UK.  But why do so many performers work in such precarious conditions – and what can be done about it. In the latest Unions 21 podcast, Becky Wright and Simon Sapper talk with Charlotte Bence of Equity about the “professionally made, professionally paid” campaign targeting low pay in the sector – and discover that the organising tools used here could, should and do have a resonance across the economy, irrespective of industry.  A Makes-You-Think production.


Linked podcasts are: New Deal or New Serfdom(published 18 May 2018) and our Brexit Special(published 7 September 2017)


Civil Servants, Collective Voice and Brexit Abuse w/Amy Leversidge

October 15, 2018

In the NEW Unions21 #podcast, @beckyunions21 and @simonsapper talk Brexit, civil service neutrality, and political abuse @Amy_Leversidge of the FDA union. All reasons why workers need a Collective Voice at work.


The Aussie view on UK union challenges w/ Dr Chris Wright

October 1, 2018

Hey - it's the NEW : workers on the board, employment rights from day 1, collective voice and plus of gives an Aussie perspective on labour relations. With @simonsapper &

During his discussion, Chris signposts a number of “good reads”. The links are: 

Gooberman, Leon, Hauptmeier, Marco and Heery, Edmund, 2018. Contemporary employer interest representation in the United Kingdom. Work, Employment and Society32(1), pp.114-132. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0950017017701074

Kochan, Thomas A. 2018. What Would Frances Perkins Do? Boston Review, 29 August. https://bostonreview.net/politics/thomas-kochan-what-would-frances-perkins-do

Thelen, Kathleen, 2014. Varieties of Liberalization and the New Politics of Social Solidarity. Cambridge University Press. http://www.cambridge.org/gb/academic/subjects/politics-international-relations/political-economy/varieties-liberalization-and-new-politics-social-solidarity?format=PB 

Baccaro, Lucio and Howell, Chris, 2017. Trajectories of Neoliberal Transformation: European Industrial Relations Since the 1970s. Cambridge University Press.




TUC review w/ Paddy Lillis, Antonia Bance, Worksmart and 90,000 new members!

September 13, 2018

The @unions21 podcast is one year old! To celebrate, @beckyunions21 and @simonsapper joined the TUC Congress in Manchester to catch up with the newest General Secretary on-the-block USDAW's Paddy Lillis to find out how his union recruits NINETY THOUSAND members a year,  @AntoniaBance spells out the TUC’s major new WORKSMART initiative, and we review our standing-room only fringe events, on Digital Transformation, and Collective Voice with voxpops from our stellar speakers including Rachel ReevesAlison Charlton, Jenny Andrew, Jon Skewes  Ali Milani and Amy Leversidge. Henry Skewes is our Production Assistant. A Makes-You-Thinkproduction.


Bite-size Masterclass 5: Unions And Good Governance w/ Claire Sullivan

September 3, 2018

Good governance is at the heart of all organisations and unions are no different.  It is, literally, the difference between success and failure. In the fifth and final Unions21 bite-sized masterclass, Claire Sullivan from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy talks about what her union has done to ensure its structures do not just reflect members’ priorities, but also empowers them. There is expert analysis from Becky Wright, SPERI’s Tom Hunt, and Simon Sapper. We welcome the support of the University of Sheffield's Political Economy Research Institute, known as SPERI, and Beyond Trafficking and Slavery on openDemocracy. (Beyond Trafficking and Slavery is non-profit project combining clear writing with rigourous scholarship to help everyone better understand exploitation in the world of work. Find out more at opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery.) Music courtesy of  Podsummit.com. Photocredit: CSP.  A Makes-you-Think production.