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Industrial Relations in Britain under New Labour, 1997-2010: a post mortem



A revival of trade unions was widely expected when Blair’s New Labour government took over from the Conservatives in Britain in 1997. This did not occur. Collective bargaining continued to retreat. The paper discusses the implications of the changing economic context for the government’s legal innovations, notably statutory trade union recognition and a minimum wage. It describes the consequences for industrial relations. It concludes that New Labour’s legacy may lie in its nurturing of the institutions of social partnership and the use of conciliation.

Suggested Citation

  • Brown, W., 2011. "Industrial Relations in Britain under New Labour, 1997-2010: a post mortem," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1121, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:1121

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    More about this item


    British Industrial Relations; New Labour; trade unions; collective bargaining; partnership; Low Pay Commission; Acas; labour legislation; industrial conciliation;

    JEL classification:

    • J50 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - General
    • J52 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Dispute Resolution: Strikes, Arbitration, and Mediation
    • J58 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Public Policy

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