A recent report by Acas into the work of the Certification Office (which, among other things, maintains the official register of trade unions) identifies a “steady trickle” of new unions being established, despite a general trend of decline.
According to the report: “These new unions appear to be motivated by, among other things... an attempt to gain improved recognition for under-represented groups of workers...”
Workers’ Liberty has been involved in campaigns involving some new independent unions (including the Industrial Workers of the World and the Pret A Manger Staff Union, which are specifically mentioned in the report, and the Industrial Workers of Great Britain). We don’t see such initiatives as an alternative to transforming the mass unions, but they can play an important role in some struggles. The proliferation of such initiatives shows that more workers are finding their struggles restricted, rather than facilitated, by mainstream unions.
This reinforces the need to transform our movement as a whole.