Strike Incidence in British Manufacturing in the 1980s
In British manufacturing during the 1980s, about one in forty wage settlements involved a strike. Using data provided by the Confederation of British Industry, the authors analyze the incidence of strikes in some 6,000 negotiations at the level of the bargaining group. Among their findings are that multi-unionism (the presence in a workplace of more than one union with the authority to bargain) was associated with higher strike incidence than was single unionism; changes in industrial relations laws during the 1980s were associated with reduced strike incidence; and, contrary to the findings of most similar studies of North American strikes, strike incidence in Britain during the 1980s appears to have been counter-cyclical, increasing as unemployment increased. Three strike theories are assessed in light of the empirical evidence.