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Union Organization in Great Britain

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  • Alex Bryson
  • P Willman

Abstract

Union membership and density in Britain has experienced substantial decline since 1979. The fall in private sector membership and density has been much greater than in the public sector. The size of the union sector, measured by employer recognition, has shrunk. Membership decline has been accompanied by financial decline. Much of the decline occurred before 1997, under Conservative governments. Since 1997 and the return of a Labour government, the position has in some respects stabilized. Currently, unions have a substantially reduced economic impact, but a continued, if limited, role in workplace communication and grievance handling, often as part of a voice regime including non union elements.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0774.

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Date of creation: Jan 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0774

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

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Keywords: British trade unions; union structure; union membership;

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References

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  1. Adam Seth Litwin, 2000. "Trade unions and industrial injury in Great Britain," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library 20169, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Stephen Machin, 2000. "Union Decline in Britain," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 38(4), pages 631-645, December.
  3. Richard Dickens & Alan Manning, 2002. "Has the national minimum wage reduced UK wage inequality?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library 20079, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. William Brown & Simon Deakin & David Nash & Sarah Oxenbridge, 2000. "The Employment Contract: From Collective Procedures To Individual Rights," ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers, ESRC Centre for Business Research wp171, ESRC Centre for Business Research.
  5. John W. Budd & Karen Mumford, . "Trade Unions and Family Friendly Policies in Britain," Working Papers, Human Resources and Labor Studies, University of Minnesota (Twin Cities Campus) 0302, Human Resources and Labor Studies, University of Minnesota (Twin Cities Campus).
  6. Pencavel, John, 2003. "The Surprising Retreat of Union Britain," IZA Discussion Papers 818, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. David G. Blanchflower & Alex Bryson, 2004. "What Effect Do Unions Have on Wages Now and Would Freeman and Medoff Be Surprised?," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, Transaction Publishers, vol. 25(3), pages 383-414, July.
  8. Andy Charlwood, 2004. "The New Generation of Trade Union Leaders and Prospects for Union Revitalization," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 42(2), pages 379-397, 06.
  9. A. S. Litwin, 2000. "Trade Unions and Industrial Injury in Great Britain," CEP Discussion Papers, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE dp0468, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  10. Willman,Paul & Morris,Tim & Aston,Beverly, 1993. "Union Business," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521417259.
  11. David Metcalf & Kirstine Hansen & Andy Charlwood, 2001. "Unions and the Sword of Justice: Unions and Pay Systems, Pay Inequality, Pay Discrimination and Low Pay," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 176(1), pages 61-75, April.
  12. Alex Bryson & John Forth & Simon Kirby, 2005. "High-Involvement Management Practices, Trade Union Representation And Workplace Performance In Britain," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 52(3), pages 451-491, 07.
  13. David Card & Richard B. Freeman, 2004. "What Have Two Decades of British Economic Reform Delivered?," NBER Chapters, in: Seeking a Premier Economy: The Economic Effects of British Economic Reforms, 1980-2000, pages 9-62 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. David Blanchflower & Alex Bryson, 2002. "Changes over time in union relative wage effects in the UK and the US revisited," NBER Working Papers 9395, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Walsh, Frank & Strobl, Eric, 2009. "Recent Trends in Trade Union Membership in Ireland," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 40(1), pages 117–138.
  2. Blanchflower, David G. & Bryson, Alex & Forth, John, 2006. "Workplace Industrial Relations in Britain, 1980-2004," IZA Discussion Papers 2518, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. René Böheim & Martina Zweimüller, 2009. "The employment of temporary agency workers in the UK – with or against the trade unions?," Economics working papers, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria 2009-12, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  4. Alex Bryson & Rafael Gomez & P Willman, 2008. "Trading Places: Employers, Unions and the Manufacture of Voice," CEP Discussion Papers, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE dp0884, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.

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