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Transformation of British industrial relations? Institutions, conduct and outcomes 1980-1990

Listed author(s):
  • David Metcalf
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    The institutions and conduct of British industrial relations changed fundamentally in the last decade or so. Union membership haemorrhaged. Management prerogatives were restored. Management often extricated itself from previous pluralist arrangements involving joint regulation with unions. Under half of employees are now covered by collective agreements. The industrial relations environment has become harsher. Product market competition has intensified. Legislative changes have undermined collectivism. But what of the performance outcomes? Here the story is very different. The industrial relations system can no longer be held to stymie companies'' achievements. But this is not a ''transformation''. It simply reflects compliance of labour in the conduct of workplace relations. The impact of changes in industrial relations institutions and conduct on the pay/jobs trade-off are even more actutely depressing. The pay-setting institutions have certainly been transformed. The government has achieved virtually all it set out to do yet unemployment rises inexorably to a post-war record high.

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    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/20981/
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    Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 20981.

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    Length: 53 pages
    Date of creation: Mar 1993
    Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:20981
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    16. Blanchflower, David G & Millward, Neil & Oswald, Andrew J, 1991. "Unionism and Employment Behaviour," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(407), pages 815-834, July.
    17. William Brown, 1993. "The Contraction of Collective Bargaining in Britain," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 31(2), pages 189-200, 06.
    18. Machin, S.J., 1991. "Unions and the capture of economic rents: An investigation using british firm level data," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 261-274, June.
    19. Carruth, Alan A & Oswald, Andrew J, 1987. "On Union Preferences and Labour Market Models: Insiders and Outsi ders," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(386), pages 431-445, June.
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