Elgar original reference
Edited by John T. Addison and Claus Schnabel
Chapter 12: Recent Changes in the Industrial Relations Framework in the UK
John T. Addison and W. Stanley Siebert There will be no going back. The days of strikes without ballots, mass picketing, closed shops and secondary action are over. (Tony Blair, May 1998; see Department of Trade and Industry, 1998, p. 3) I see trade unions as a force for good, an essential part of our democracy, but as more than that, potentially, as a force for economic success. They are a part of the solution to achieving business success and not an obstacle to it. (Tony Blair, September 1999; see Brown, 2000, p. 305) 1. Introduction In this chapter we investigate the major changes that have taken place in collective bargaining in the UK in the last two decades, consider their impact, and further address the consequences of union decline. We shall also speculate on the likely course of bargaining arrangements over the ﬁrst decade of the present century. Much attention will be given over to the everchanging legal framework within which collective bargaining is set – swings in the legal pendulum from Thatcher through Blair to, potentially much more important, the ministrations of the European Union (EU). Domestic and international law provide the backbone of our discussion. We will review the main legislative enactments of the Thatcher/Major administrations introduced between 1980–93. We also describe at more leisurely pace the changes engineered by New Labour in the form of the 1999 Employment Relations Act and the prospective Employment Bill. At issue is whether these most recent domestically initiated changes in...
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