Unions for Unions? The case of MSF in Britain


Colin Adkin and Brian Harris work as union research officers in the London Head Office of MSF, Britain’s biggest union for white collar workers (or, as MSF puts it, for skilled and professional people). But Colin and Brian not only carry out their union duties for the union’s 300 000 members, they are also elected Shopstewards for the staff that the union employs, representing them for pay and grievances issues against the union as their employer. The idea of union staff being unionised is novel in the South African context, with some union leaders in South Africa having gone on record to the effect that unionisation amongst union staff suggests either serious staff disloyalty and lack of commitment, or, worse, is subversive of the goals of trade unionism. Here, Adkin and Harris explain how the practice works in their own union.


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Adkin, C. Harris, B.
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