A discussion paper released by ACAS this week recognises the use of Web 2.0 communication technologies in the organisation of industrial conflict.

Of particular note is a reflection on how tools such as Facebook appear to be an increasingly common organising and recruitment tool for "younger stewards".

The paper is entitled: Riding out the storm: managing conflict in a recession and beyond - click here for a copy.

Some details (p.5):

Unofficial action and alternative ways of organising

The ongoing decline in both collective bargaining as a method of managing employment relations and of collective action as a ‘managed’ expression of collective discontent shows no sign of slowing.

But if formal channels are closed off to employees there is likely to be a rise in unofficial expressions of discontent.

There are now more sophisticated methods of communicating with large audiences via social networking sites such as Facebook, and indeed there are already unions who are reporting younger stewards using this as a recruiting and organising tool.