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Have Industrial Relations in the UK Really Improved?

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  • Stephen Drinkwater
  • Peter Ingram

Abstract

The number of strikes reported in British industry has been on a downward trend over the past two decades, falling in 1998 to their lowest level since records began. This may indicate that relations within British industry have improved, however, the same period has also witnessed a sharp increase in the number of individual ACAS and employment tribunal cases. We discuss possible reasons for the changes in the patterns of industrial unrest over time and use individual microdata to examine whether the observed decline in strike activity has actually been associated with an improvement in perceptions of workplace industrial relations.
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Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Drinkwater & Peter Ingram, 2005. "Have Industrial Relations in the UK Really Improved?," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 19(2), pages 373-398, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:labour:v:19:y:2005:i:2:p:373-398
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Richard Freeman & Jeffrey Pelletier, 1990. "The Impact of Industrial Relations Legislation on British Union Density," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 28(2), pages 141-164, July.
    2. William Brown & Simon Deakin & David Nash & Sarah Oxenbridge, 2000. "The Employment Contract: From Collective Procedures to Individual Rights," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 38(4), pages 611-629, December.
    3. Alex Bryson, 2001. "The Foundation of ‘Partnership’? Union Effects on Employee Trust in Management," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 176(1), pages 91-104, April.
    4. Booth, Alison L. & Francesconi, Marco, 2000. "Collectivism versus individualism: performance-related pay and union coverage for non-standard workers in Britain," ISER Working Paper Series 2000-35, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    5. Knight, K G & Latreille, Paul L, 2000. "How Far Do Cases Go? Resolution in Industrial Tribunal Applications," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 68(6), pages 723-744, December.
    6. Booth, A-L & Frank, J, 1997. "Performance Related Pay," CEPR Discussion Papers 364, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    7. Sapsford, David & Turnbull, Peter, 1994. "Strikes and Industrial Conflict in Britain's Docks: Balloons or Icebergs?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 56(3), pages 249-265, August.
    8. Keith A. Bender & Peter J. Sloane, 1998. "Job Satisfaction, Trade Unions, and Exit-Voice Revisited," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 51(2), pages 222-240, January.
    9. John S. Heywood & W. S. Siebert & Xiangdong Wei, 2002. "Worker Sorting and Job Satisfaction: The Case of Union and Government Jobs," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 55(4), pages 595-609, July.
    10. P Ingram & David Metcalf & Jonathan Wadsworth, 1992. "Do Strikes Pay?," CEP Discussion Papers dp0092, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    11. Crouch, Colin, 2000. "The Snakes and Ladders of Twenty-First-Century Trade Unionism," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(1), pages 70-83, Spring.
    12. Blanchflower, David G & Oswald, Andrew J, 1988. "Profit-Related Pay: Prose Discovered," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(392), pages 720-730, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. John Forth, 2008. "Conflict at Work: The Pattern of Disputes in Britain since 1980," National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) Discussion Papers 316, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
    2. Blanchflower, David G. & Bryson, Alex, 2008. "Union decline in Britain," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19603, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Peter Urwin & Franz Buscha & Paul L. Latreille, 2014. "Representation in UK Employment Tribunals: Analysis of the 2003 and 2008 Survey of Employment Tribunal Applications (SETA)," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 52(1), pages 158-184, March.
    4. Richard Jones & Peter Sloane, 2009. "Regional differences in job satisfaction," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(8), pages 1019-1041.
    5. Jeremy Tanguy, 2013. "Collective and Individual Conflicts in the Workplace: Evidence from F rance," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 102-133, January.
    6. Gürtzgen, Nicole & Garloff, Alfred, 2008. "Innovationen in den Rahmenbedingungen von Tarifverhandlungen: Endbericht zum Projekt," ZEW Expertises, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research, number 110513, May.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J52 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Dispute Resolution: Strikes, Arbitration, and Mediation
    • J53 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Labor-Management Relations; Industrial Jurisprudence

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