British Unions in Decline: An Examination of the 1980s Fall in Trade Union Recognition
AbstractThe authors analyze establishment-level data from the three Workplace Industrial Relations Surveys of 1980, 1984 and 1990 to document and explain the sharp decline in unionization that occurred in Britain over the 1980s. Between 1980 and 1990 the proportion of British establishments which recognised manual or non-manual trade unions for collective bargaining over pay and conditions fell by almost 20 percent (from 0.67 to 0.54). The evidence reported demonstrates the importance of the interaction between the labour market, the product market, employer behaviour and the legislative framework in determining union recognition status in new establishments. The sharp fall in trade union recognition appears to be largely driven by a failure to achieve recognition status in establishments set up in the 1980s. These results, when taken in conjunction with recent changes in the nature of employment in the British labour market, seem to paint a bleak picture for unions and there appears to be no reason why the decline in union activity should not continue into the 1990s.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4733.
Date of creation: May 1994
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Other versions of this item:
- Richard Disney & Amanda Gosling & Stephen Machin, 1994. "British unions in decline: an examination of the 1980s fall in trade union recognition," IFS Working Papers W94/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
- J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining
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- Stephen Machin, 2000.
"Union Decline in Britain,"
CEP Discussion Papers
dp0455, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
- Machin, Stephen, 1997. "The decline of labour market institutions and the rise in wage inequality in Britain," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 647-657, April.
- Haile, Getinet Astatike, 2012. "Union Decline in Britain: Is Chauvinism Also to Blame?," IZA Discussion Papers 6536, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Blanchflower, David G., 2006. "A Cross-Country Study of Union Membership," IZA Discussion Papers 2016, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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