Posted by Dave on

Service Model vs Organising Model

Service Model vs Organising Model

The Unite GS election and the new GMB GS’s introductory statement in the Morning Star have brought the questions of syndicalism and auto-labourism to the fore. Personally I wonder if this is a rehashing of the debates around the service model vs. organisational model. Here are my notes?

  1. Service Model, a definition at Oxford Reference  and a search there for organising model.
  2. I was pointed at Zero Hours by classpower, see &
  3. Organizing model, at wikipedia, has a large bibliography
  4., which is much weaker, however this (2007) is a manifesto for the service model.

A form of trade unionism in which activism and self-representation by union members are discouraged in favour of the provision of services by paid full-time officers. These services may include collective bargaining or the provision of advice, representation, and consumer benefits to individual union members. The servicing model is often counterposed to the organizing model.

The organising model refers to an approach to trade union recruitment and organizing developed by American trade unions in the 1980s which has since influenced union practice in a number of countries, including Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, and the UK. At the heart of the model is the notion that unions should rest upon the ‘self-activity’ or activism of their members. Recruitment of workers into trade unions, therefore, should not be done on the basis of providing member services but through mobilizing workers in campaigns ….



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