The Effects of Recent Changes in Industrial Conflict on the Internal Politics of Trade Unions: Britain and Germany

  • Roderick Martin


The classical analysis of union politics is derived from Michels’s work on Social Democratic parties and trade unions, Political Parties (1959 edition). According to Michels (ibid. 401), central executive domination over rank-and-file member of trade unions is inevitable, deriving from the simple fact of organisation:

… oligarchy depends upon … THE PSYCHOLOGY OF THE ORGANISATION ITSELF … upon the tactical and technical necessities which result from the consolidation of every disciplined political aggregate. Reduced to its most concise expression, the fundamental sociological law of political parties … may be formulated in the following terms: ‘It is organisation which gives birth to the dominion of the elected over the electors, of the mandatories over the mandators, of the delegates over the delegators. Who says organisation says oligarchy.’


Trade Union Collective Bargaining Union Member Supervisory Board Union Leader 
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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1978

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  • Roderick Martin

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