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British unions in decline: The determinants of the 1980s fall in union recognition

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  • Richard Disney
  • Stephen Machin
  • Amanda Gosling

Abstract

This examination of establishment-level data from the Workplace Industrial Relations Surveys of 1980, 1984, and 1990 shows that the proportion of British establishments (that is, workplaces in both the private and public sector) that recognized unions for collective bargaining over pay and working conditions fell by almost 20% between 1980 and 1990. Largely accountable for this decline was a much lower rate of union recognition in establishments founded in the 1980s than in previous years, particularly in the private sector. Citing these findings, as well as recent structural changes in employment in the British labor market (such as the shift from manufacturing to services, from manual to non-manual employment, and from full-time to part-time work) and a government that continues to enact anti-union legislation, the authors foresee no reversal of unions' decline in the 1990s. (Abstract courtesy JSTOR.)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School in its journal ILR Review.

Volume (Year): 48 (1995)
Issue (Month): 3 (April)
Pages: 403-419

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Handle: RePEc:ilr:articl:v:48:y:1995:i:3:p:403-419

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Cited by:
  1. Samantha Farmakis-Gamboni & David Prentice, 2007. "Does Reducing Union Bargaining Power Increase Productivity?," Working Papers 2007.04, School of Economics, La Trobe University.
  2. Schnabel, Claus, 2002. "Determinants of trade union membership," Discussion Papers 15, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
  3. Samantha Farmakis‐Gamboni & David Prentice, 2011. "When Does Reducing Union Bargaining Power Increase Productivity? Evidence from the Workplace Relations Act," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 87(279), pages 603-616, December.
  4. John Schmitt & Alexandra Mitukiewicz, 2012. "Politics matter: changes in unionisation rates in rich countries, 1960–2010," Industrial Relations Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(3), pages 260-280, 05.

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