Hilary Benn MP on his time as Chair of Unions21

Unions21 celebrates 20 years of serving the union movement in 2013


I first got involved when I was working for MSF and was asked to go along to a meeting by Roger Lyons. I had no idea what it was all about, but what I found was a lively group of people and a great idea; providing a space in which trade unionists could come together to think about the future of unions. In this, Unions21 was unique; there was nowhere else in the union movement where this type of conversation was taking place.


One of the other characteristics of Unions 21 was that it had no formal ‘position’ and therefore could not be captured by anyone for a particular purpose. So those who took part did so because they were interested in the debate and not because they thought they could achieve a particular outcome. There were so many things to talk about. How should we respond to a changing economy? What could be done to organise better in the new workplaces. How did unions need to change the way they operate? And we asked these and many other questions by publishing articles, encouraging discussion and holding meetings and conferences. Read More…