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Why Do Non-Union Employees Want To Unionise? Evidence from Britain

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  • A Charlwood
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    Abstract

    The introduction of a statutory recognition procedure offers British unions the opportunity to reverse membership decline by organising non-union workers. The aim of this paper is to test theories of individual union joining in order to assess the likely impact of the new procedure on British union membership. Responses of a nationally representative sample of non-union employees to the question 'how willing would you be to join a union if one were available at your workplace?' are analysed. Results suggest that the new legislation will cause union membership to rise among manual employees, but that unions will face a much harder challenge organising non-manual employees. Unless unions can change their environment, or change themselves then long-term decline is likely.

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    File URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/DP0498.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0498.

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    Date of creation: Jun 2001
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    Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0498

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

    Related research

    Keywords: Trade Unions; employee attitudes; unionisation;

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    1. John Pencavel, 2003. "The Surprising Retreat of Union Britain," NBER Working Papers 9564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Kate Bronfenbrenner, 1997. "The role of union strategies in NLRB certification elections," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 50(2), pages 195-212, January.
    3. David Metcalf, 2001. "British Unions: Dissolution or Resurgence Revisited," CEP Discussion Papers, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE dp0493, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    4. Farber, Henry S & Saks, Daniel H, 1980. "Why Workers Want Unions: The Role of Relative Wages and Job Characteristics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(2), pages 349-69, April.
    5. Disney, Richard & Gosling, Amanda & Machin, Stephen, 1996. "What Has Happened to Union Recognition in Britain?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 63(249), pages 1-18, February.
    6. Towers, Brian, 1997. "The Representation Gap: Change and Reform in the British and American Workplace," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, number 9780198289463, October.
    7. Green, Francis, 1990. "Trade Union Availability and Trade Union Membership in Britain," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, University of Manchester, vol. 58(4), pages 378-94, December.
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