University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)707-728
JournalEconomic and Industrial Democracy
Early online date6 Mar 2012
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2012


We apply an international relations framework and the notion of multilateral organizations as a means of understanding the nature of trade union internationalism, the conditions under which it operates. We argue that international trade unionism involves an imperfect multilateralism which requires close working relationships between small groups of unions in order to function, that is, a ‘minilateral’ method of working. By using this framework we attempt to highlight the intrinsic durability and adaptability of the Global Unions and also identify areas of activity that serve to strengthen them as organisations, primarily by building affiliates’ engagement and investment in them.

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