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Transformation of British Industrial Relations? Institutions, Conduct and Outcomes 1980-1990

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  • David Metcalf
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    Abstract

    The institutions and conduct of British industrial relations changed fundamentally in the last decade or so. Union membership haemorrhaged. Management prerogatives were restored. Management often extricated itself from previous pluralist arrangements involving joint regulation with unions. Under half of employees are now covered by collective agreements. The industrial relations environment has become harsher. Product market competition has intensified. Legislative changes have undermined collectivism. But what of the performance outcomes? Here the story is very different. The industrial relations system can no longer be held to stymie companies' achievements. But this is not a 'transformation'. It simply reflects compliance of labour in the conduct of workplace relations. The impact of changes in industrial relations institutions and conduct on the pay/jobs trade-off are even more actutely depressing. The pay-setting institutions have certainly been transformed. The government has achieved virtually all it set out to do yet unemployment rises inexorably to a post-war record high.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0151.

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    Date of creation: Mar 1993
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    Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0151

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    Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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    1. Conyon, M & Machin, Stephen, 1991. "The Determination of Profit Margins in UK Manufacturing," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(4), pages 569-82, June.
    2. Gregg, Paul & Machin, Stephen, 1992. "Unions, the Demise of the Closed Shop and Wage Growth in the 1980's," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 54(1), pages 53-71, February.
    3. Machin, Stephen & Wadhwani, Sushil, 1991. "The Effects of Unions of Investment and Innovation: Evidence from WIRS," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(405), pages 324-30, March.
    4. Paul Gregg & Stephen Machin & David Metcalf, 1991. "Signals and Cycles Productivity Growth and Changes in Union Status in British Companies," CEP Discussion Papers dp0049, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    5. Blanchflower, David G & Millward, Neil & Oswald, Andrew J, 1991. "Unionism and Employment Behaviour," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(407), pages 815-34, July.
    6. Carruth, Alan A & Oswald, Andrew J, 1987. "On Union Preferences and Labour Market Models: Insiders and Outsi ders," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(386), pages 431-45, June.
    7. Blanchflower, David G, 1991. "Fear, Unemployment and Pay Flexibility," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(406), pages 483-96, May.
    8. Latreille, Paul L, 1992. "Unions and the Inter-establishment Adoption of New Microelectronic Technologies in the British Private Manufacturing Sector," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 54(1), pages 31-51, February.
    9. Machin, Stephen J & Wadhwani, Sushil, 1991. "The Effects of Unions on Organisational Change and Employment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(407), pages 835-54, July.
    10. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald & Mario D. Garrett, 1989. "Insider Power in Wage Determination," NBER Working Papers 3179, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Stewart, M.B., 1989. "Union Wage Differentials, Product Market Influences And The Division Of Rents," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 323, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    12. Machin, Stephen J & Stewart, Mark B, 1990. "Unions and the Financial Performance of British Private Sector Establishments," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 5(4), pages 327-50, Oct.-Dec..
    13. Stewart, Mark B, 1991. "Union Wage Differentials in the Face of Changes in the Economic and Legal Environment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 58(230), pages 155-72, May.
    14. Dowrick, Steve, 1990. "Wage Pressure, Bargaining and Price-Cost Margins in UK Manufacturing," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(3), pages 239-67, March.
    15. Carruth, Alan A & Disney, Richard F, 1988. "Where Have Two Million Trade Union Members Gone?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 55(217), pages 1-19, February.
    16. John Schmitt, 1993. "The Changing Structure of Male Earnings in Britain," CEP Discussion Papers dp0122, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    17. David Metcalf, 1993. "Industrial Relations and Economic Performance," CEP Discussion Papers dp0129, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    18. Machin, Stephen & Stewart, Mark B & Van Reenen, John, 1993. " The Economic Effects of Multiple Unionism: Evidence from the 1984 Workplace Industrial Relations Survey," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 95(3), pages 279-96.
    19. Ingram, Peter N, 1991. "Ten Years of Manufacturing Wage Settlements: 1979-89," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(1), pages 93-106, Spring.
    20. Brown, William & Walsh, Janet, 1991. "Pay Determination in Britain in the 1980s; the Anatomy of Decentralization," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(1), pages 44-59, Spring.
    21. S Dunn & M Wright, 1993. "Managing without the Closed Shop," CEP Discussion Papers dp0118, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    22. Cable, J. R. & Machin, S. J., 1991. "The relationship between union wage and profitability effects," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 315-321, November.
    23. Machin, S.J., 1991. "Unions and the capture of economic rents: An investigation using british firm level data," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 261-274, June.
    24. Denny, K. & Nickell, S., 1990. "Unions And Investment In British Industry," Economics Series Working Papers 9992, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    25. Metcalf, David & Stewart, Mark, 1992. "Closed Shops and Relative Pay: Institutional Arrangements or High Density?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 54(4), pages 503-16, November.
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