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Edited by Adrian Wilkinson, Jimmy Donaghey, Tony Dundon and Richard B. Freeman
Chapter 13: Civil society organizations and employee voice
In this chapter we examine the form of employee voice developed by civil society organizations, institutions that have become the focus of considerable research attention by employment relations scholars in recent years, particularly in the USA and UK. By civil society organizations (CSOs) we mean non-union and non-profit seeking organizations that are formally independent of the state and which develop campaigns, services, programmes or other initiatives designed to advance the interests of working people. Generally, organizations of this type are not concerned solely with the workaday selves of the people they represent and are quite diverse in their structure and patterns of activity. Most of those that provide voice to workers, however, fall into one of three overlapping categories: advocacy organizations that provide information, advisory and representation services, identity-based organizations that promote the interests of working women and minorities and issue-based organizations that run campaigns relating to the workplace. An example of the first type is the UK's Citizens Advice, a voluntary organization that provides advice on a broad range of issues, including employment, through a network of walk-in centres spread across the country (Abbott 2004). Examples of prominent identity-based organizations, also from the UK, that have an employment role are Stonewall, the main gay rights organization, Age UK, which campaigns on behalf of older people, and the Fawcett Society, a long-established campaigning organization on women's rights (Williams et al. 2011b).
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