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The Geography of Union Organising in Low‐Paid Service Industries in the UK: Lessons from the T&G's Campaign to Unionise the Dorchester Hotel, London

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This paper highlights the importance of organising workers in the low‐paid services sector if British trade unions are to secure themselves for the future. After outlining the scale of the challenge and the new efforts being made to promote organising by unions, the paper looks at the hotel industry in more depth. A case study of a union campaign to win union recognition at the Dorchester Hotel in London is used to highlight the limitations of workplace‐focused campaigns in this sector. Drawing on the lessons of experience in North America, the paper then argues that an extra‐workplace, occupational and/or sectoral approach may well secure better results. In so doing, workplace issues could be recast as matters of economic and social injustice, widening the scale of any campaign.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Geography, Queen Mary, University of London, London, UK;, Email:

Publication date: January 1, 2005


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