A culture of connection established by the web and our everyday use of digital technologies have changed how trade union work is performed, becoming more pronounced due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The growing literature on digital trade union work demonstrates that unions use diverse social media to communicate with union members, campaign and organise. However, much of the existing work in this area focuses on traditional union tactics and their replication, such as digital picket lines supporting a physical picket. This pilot study investigates the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers' (RMT) use of Twitter, bypassing traditional communication channels to build solidarity with and control the narrative about strike action. We examine Twitter data by the @RMTunion account in 2022 and the replies and mentions used to directly address other users who share inaccurate information about industrial action and defend workers’ rights. We found the RMT's engagement with misinformation is significant as (1) Twitter is an increasingly common source for news, (2) and is a public platform that can be used, unintentionally or by design, to broadcast the message to a broad audience. Findings indicate that the RMT has become a powerful voice on Twitter by contesting misinformation about ongoing industrial action. Further, other users have liked and disseminated their content, which directly impacts the audience they can reach. This has been instrumental in gaining support from the public during strike action, which is crucial to their success.
|Publication status||Published - 4 Apr 2023|
|Event||73rd Political Studies Association Annual International Conference: Political Futures - Liverpool, United Kingdom|
Duration: 3 Apr 2023 → 5 Apr 2023
|Conference||73rd Political Studies Association Annual International Conference|
|Period||3/04/23 → 5/04/23|
- Trade union
- strike action