There is considerable scope for future research into the theory and practice of an ‘Irish model’ of organising. As seen above the trade union model was not a particular focus of my research when I started out. It was only through the research process that it became clear that the development of new models and strategies was central to trade union debate and development. A future action oriented research approach could build upon the research conducted for this thesis to further interrogate trade union thinking and to develop the theoretical and practical parameters of what an ‘Irish model’ might look like.
As SIPTU’s engagement with the organising model reaches its fifth year in 2015, this would seem a suitable time to undertake research into its sustainability. As has been noted organising is highly resource intensive and SIPTU entered into it at a time of decreasing union membership. Sustainability is an issue raised in the literature and it was one that also emerged in this research with many of the interviewees involved in organising expressing concerns around member retention following organisation.
A further research area that recommends itself is that of migrants’ experience of trade unions in Ireland. To my knowledge there has only been limited research in that area to date in Ireland (Turner et al, 2008a; 2008b) and there is scope for a more broad based study into migrant workers’ knowledge, experience and expectations of trade unions. This would be a necessary complement to the research I have conducted which has been largely from a trade union rather than a migrant perspective.
Finally, a rich area for research is that of union co-operation and collaboration with NGOs, community groups and faith based groups in reaching out to unorganised workers and the capacity of such alliances to maximise organising and representative efforts. In this context the Irish case could inform the broader international debates underway which are focused largely on the UK and the US.
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