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Why Do Non-Union Employees Want To Unionise? Evidence from Britain

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  • A Charlwood

Abstract

The introduction of a statutory recognition procedure offers British unions the opportunity to reverse membership decline by organising non-union workers. The aim of this paper is to test theories of individual union joining in order to assess the likely impact of the new procedure on British union membership. Responses of a nationally representative sample of non-union employees to the question 'how willing would you be to join a union if one were available at your workplace?' are analysed. Results suggest that the new legislation will cause union membership to rise among manual employees, but that unions will face a much harder challenge organising non-manual employees. Unless unions can change their environment, or change themselves then long-term decline is likely.

Suggested Citation

  • A Charlwood, 2001. "Why Do Non-Union Employees Want To Unionise? Evidence from Britain," CEP Discussion Papers dp0498, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0498
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    File URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/DP0498.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Green, Francis, 1990. "Trade Union Availability and Trade Union Membership in Britain," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 58(4), pages 378-394, December.
    2. John H. Pencavel, 2004. "The Surprising Retreat of Union Britain," NBER Chapters,in: Seeking a Premier Economy: The Economic Effects of British Economic Reforms, 1980-2000, pages 181-232 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Disney, Richard & Gosling, Amanda & Machin, Stephen, 1996. "What Has Happened to Union Recognition in Britain?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 63(249), pages 1-18, February.
    4. David Metcalf, 2001. "British Unions: Dissolution or Resurgence Revisited," CEP Discussion Papers dp0493, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    5. Farber, Henry S & Saks, Daniel H, 1980. "Why Workers Want Unions: The Role of Relative Wages and Job Characteristics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(2), pages 349-369, April.
    6. Towers, Brian, 1997. "The Representation Gap: Change and Reform in the British and American Workplace," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198289463.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Trade Unions; employee attitudes; unionisation;

    JEL classification:

    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects

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