Document Type


Publication Date



International Studies, Political Science



Publication Title

Labor History


The British Trades Union Congress (TUC) reversed its position on European integration between 1983 and 1988. Formerly one of the most anti-European Community (EC) union organizations in Europe, since 1988 the TUC has become one of the most vocal supporters. Existing accounts of this transformation have downplayed the impact of the changing political opportunity structure facing the TUC in the 1980s, despite the fact that British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and EC Commission President Jacques Delors both undertook significant initiatives that affected workplace regulation, collective bargaining, and unions’ access to policy-making. In response, this article provides a political analysis of the TUC's European reorientation. It focuses on the specific ways that Thatcher and Delors together reconfigured the political environment in which the TUC operated in the 1980s and concludes with a discussion of how the TUC responded to these changes by reorganizing its activities after 1988 to incorporate a new role as conduit to the EC.


Published as:
Mitchell, Kristine. "From Whitehall to Brussels: Thatcher, Delors and the Europeanization of the TUC." Labor History 53, no. 1 (2012): 25-50.

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© 2012. This publication is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license: