Social Media As a Strategy for Trade Union Renewal: A Comparative Analysis of the Facebook Presence of Trade Union Congresses in Europe and the Americas

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 10:45
Oral Presentation
Bia CARNEIRO, 501617582, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
While the importance of organised labour in securing worker's rights across the globe is undeniable, the rise of neoliberal globalisation has caused significant changes to the labour market, and trade unions have had to respond and adapt to this new reality in order to maintain membership levels, ensure succession and retain their influence. As such, the increasing ubiquity of the Web 2.0 – and, more specifically, social media – in people’s lives stands as a possible path to facilitate relationships, strengthen networks, and stimulate trade union renewal. Based on this context, this research uses the Digital Methods and discourse analysis approaches to investigate the presence of organised labour on the social media platform Facebook and the relationships forged with trade union membership, other social movements and the public at large. Specifically, it analyses the main trade union congresses of four countries with distinct social and institutional contexts: Brazil, Canada, Portugal and the UK. While they all have expressive trade union representation, the different trajectories, forms of organising, and economic pressures, among other factors, have resulted in varying communication strategies. A typology for assessing these institutions’ use of Facebook as a tool to influence trade union renewal in areas such as democratisation, representation, innovation, and mobilisation will be proposed.