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The Trade Union Movement in the UK - Case Study Example

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The paper 'The Trade Union Movement in the UK' presents the Employment Relations Act 1999, which was the provision to introduce the statutory scheme for union recognition in which employers are obliged under the law to recognize unions in their workplaces…
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The Trade Union Movement in the UK
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Download file to see previous pages Before the ERA 1999, union membership and recognition in the UK were characterized by voluntarism, in which employers and employees could bargain over the terms and conditions of employment without any legal interference. With the statutory system ushered in by the new law, voluntary recognition of unions is no longer allowed and it becomes unlawful for British employers to deny recognition to unions under any circumstances. That conveys the impression that ERA created a radical change in British industrial relations. This paper takes the contrary view, however, and proposes that while the new industrial relations law looks revolutionary in principle, there are no fundamental changes in actuality for the change to qualify as “earth-shaking” in the UK context.
The trade union movement in the UK used to be such a potent political force that it unseated two governments in the 1970s and may have helped bring the ruling New Labour Party into power. Nonetheless, it is believed that the movement has a soft underbelly because of the movement’s vulnerability to attacks from the state and the employer sector (Howell, 2000). The reason is the state policy of voluntarism in collective bargaining negotiations, which finds expression in the Department of Trade and Industry campaign to woo other European investors into the UK. In its printed brochures to attract foreign investors, the DTI states that employment regulations in the UK are largely on a voluntary basis with no requirements for mandatory union agreements and fewer restrictions on both recruitment and dismissal (Machin, 2001). Thus, the state consistently denies political access to the trade unions, restricting their role to the industrial arena. This combines with a mindset among British employers as a class to prefer individual dealings at the expense of collective relations with employees (Howell, 2000). The problem for the trade union movement, in general, was compounded by the workplace trends at the turn of the millennium when the nature of jobs took on a new dimension such that there are now more employees on part-time and temporary contracts, more jobs are being outsourced, tight definitions of jobs are out, and functional flexibility is in. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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The Trade Union Movement in the UK Case Study Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 2000 Words.
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