Can trade unions make use of social networking sites?

I've blogged a several times in recent weeks about the possibilities for trade unions in cyberspace - my own paper considers such possibilities for all workers.

As a useful addition to a slowly emerging trend comes reports of workers, defeated in union recognition campaign, using Facebook to mount a protest against their employer, who is accused of employing 'union busters' to keep unions out of its factories.

The article on the subject comes courtesy of The Guardian's 'Comment is free' and a writer called David Hencke (I first saw mention of the article here - thanks to John at UNI Communicators' Forum).

Some details from the article:

An online campaign against Kettle Foods shows unions are missing a trick: the best place to drum up support is now the web.

Kettle Foods have been left with a bad taste in their mouth. They recently brought in a subsidiary of US union busters, the Burke Group, to advise them on how to stop the Unite union organising workers at their Norwich factory.

They eventually won the battle - and workers voted 206 to 93 - to keep Unite out of negotiating for the workers.

But, while this was going on, something totally unexpected happened.

Two people - one a Guardian reader - set up separate groups on Facebook - Boycott Kettle Crisps for attacks on workers and Boycott Kettle Chips: the Anti-Trade Union Snack...

For more details of what went on see Has Kettle had its chips?


Kevin said...

There is a program designed to identify, encourage and promote the next generation of corporate leaders among men and women and ethnic minorities across the World. read about it at

John said...

On a slightly more trivial note, UK unions are now a little more visible on social networking, with a Facebook application that lets members put union badges on their profiles, and see which of their friends are also in unions. You can see more at
Hopefully this might help the growth of groups for unions' activists and campaigns, and even extend to other countries to make the most of international links.