Unions and Employment in a Market Economy : Strategy, Influence and Power in Contemporary Britain book cover
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Unions and Employment in a Market Economy
Strategy, Influence and Power in Contemporary Britain





ISBN 9780367786793
Published March 31, 2021 by Routledge
226 Pages

 
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Book Description

Due to the sharp declines in trade union density and collective bargaining coverage post-1979, the shift by trade unions towards political action has had significant implications for employment relations regulation in contemporary Britain. Yet, there remains insufficient discussion of the factors of influence affecting changes in the political action process from a historical and contemporary perspective. Unions and Employment in a Market Economy will evidence how trade unions were able to offset environmental constraints through a progressive focus on political action, despite diminished power in the Labour Party’s structures and the wider economy. The book presents four legislative events categorised as functional equivalents enacted in two different periods of Labour governance (1974-79 and 1997-2010). The selected events are the Social Contract (1974-79), National Minimum Wage (1998), Employment Relations Act (1999) and the Warwick Agreement (2004). The book’s findings lend credence to the proposition that in a liberal market economy there is a valuable dividend associated with trade union political exchange through the Labour Party.

Table of Contents

List of Tables



List of Boxes



Preface





Chapter 1: Trade Union Strategy, Influence and Power in Contemporary Britain: An Introduction



Introduction



Varieties of Capitalism



Deconstruction and Reconstruction



New Labour: Continuation of neoliberalism or breaking with the past?



Labour Party: A Channel for Trade Union Political Action



Trade Union Leadership, Strategy and Structure



Conclusion





Chapter 2: The Social Contract (1974-79)



Introduction



Donovan Commission and In Place of Strife



The Industrial Relations Act (1971)



The Social Contract in Formation



The Social Contract in Operation



The Winter of Discontent 1978/9



Evaluation and Reflections





Chapter 3: Employment Relations Reform under New Labour: Context, Continuity and Change



Introduction



Conservative Liberal Market Reform



Political Action: New Mechanisms



Ideological Disunity, Space and Convergence: Opposition Years



Progressive Centralisation



Formal to Informal Processes



1993/7 Political Fund Ballots



New Policy-Making Processes



Agency and Diminishing Trust





Chapter 4: The National Minimum Wage (1998)



Introduction



The Development of the NMW



The Low Pay Commission



Policy contestation and division



Evaluation and Reflections







 



Chapter 5: The Employment Relations Act (1999)



Introduction



Fairness at Work (May 1998)



Employment Relations Bill



ERA (1999)



Evaluation and Reflections





Chapter 6: The Warwick Agreement (2004)



Introduction



Exeter Policy Forum (2000)



Leadership Dynamics



The Big Four



Institutional Reconfiguration: TULO



The Agreement Implementation



Evaluation and Reflections





Chapter 7: Strategy, Influence and Power: lessons from history



Introduction



Structural Context: shifting fronts



Degree of Coordination



Transition to Informality



Concluding Observations





Chapter 8: Conclusion



Leadership and Strategic Choice



Political Action and Electoral Reform



New Structural Pressures





Appendix A: List of Interviews as Introduced



Appendix B: Key provisions of the Employment Act 2002



Appendix C: Key Warwick Agreement pledges



Glossary



Index

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Author(s)

Biography



Andrew Brady is an academic with a PhD from the University of Strathclyde and works in the British labour movement.