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But it is not self-evident that the TUC’s campaign is wholeheartedly supported by its constituent unions. For example, at its 2013 national conference the GMB, faced with a cogent and coherent motion to develop a UK industrial policy, and an enthusiastic grassroots delegate response, found ways to administratively dilute and water down the impact of the motion. And the commitment of other unions to European partnership or co-determination principles is, at best, unproven. However, Unison have agreed various forms of social partnership, notably in the health service and in regard to union learning; and the largest TUC affiliate union, Unite, have endorsed industrial strategy and industrial intervention, though shrinking from European-style worker participation, perhaps for ideological reasons. O’Grady herself sees the campaign for worker voice as a way of regenerating support for the trade union movement, but others seem content to continue in their traditional adversarial positions.

Zoe Williams, writing in the Guardian, perhaps overstated unions’ resistance to change, and their unwavering commitment to adversarialism, but there is a grain of truth in her critique:

'Since the turn of the century newer critiques have begun to characterise unions as old-fashioned by definition with a terminal cluelessness around the challenges of modernity, built into their DNA. Conceived as institutions of resistance - to exploitation, to asymmetrical power structures, to the boss class - unions resist everything, change of any sort. They will resist the arrival of women into the workplace as staunchly as they resist a new overtime deal … Like an auto-immune condition, they reject first and ask questions later.' (11)

(11) Guardian, 17.4.17.

Given a growing consensus on the failure of speculative, predatory or rentier capitalism, opportunities may now arise for greater worker voice, alongside some of the other policies with which it is associated - even if in the limited form that may be proposed by the current government. If that were to happen, would the traditionally adversarial British union movement be in a position to take advantage to exploit this new opening political ground?