Mergers have often appealed in declining industries, not least the trade union movement. Australian unions went through a merger frenzy in the 1980s. It didn't arrest union decline. The Germans, too have tried their luck. And in recent years so too have British unions.
One can see the advantages - economies of scale, finnacial and political muscle, less duplication. But the track record of union amalgamations is not so positive, and the risk of a bureaucratic, remote oligarchy real. Has no one over at Transport House heard of the iron law of oligarchy? As for the Labour Party and the TUC, I doubt either will be pleased. Andrew Taylor writes at FT.com: ‘Super union’ merger wins backing
Amicus and T&G, which between them command about a third of trade union votes, contribute more than £3.5m in a non-election year to the party. This financial muscle is likely to take on even greater significance as donations to Labour have fallen sharply in the wake of the “cash for honours” controversy.
Smaller unions have also expressed unease that the TUC, the trade union umbrella body, could become marginalised due the dominant power of the new union.
I wish the New Union luck, but remain to be convinced.