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Will the Strategies Adopted by United Kingdom Trade Unions and the Structure They Have Developed Since 1979, Prove Effective in the 21st Century?

Edwards, Ray. (2005) Will the Strategies Adopted by United Kingdom Trade Unions and the Structure They Have Developed Since 1979, Prove Effective in the 21st Century? Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey (United Kingdom)..

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The thesis undertakes an analysis of the decline of trade unions, during the period 1979 to 2002. It disagrees with those who argue that it was changes in law that were the main cause of decline in union fortunes, arguing that it was fundamental contextual changes, particularly those of an industrial nature, which generated the decline of trade unions. It commences with a brief historic overview of trade union development, and provides evidence of how some unions, struggling for recognition, utilised statutory provisions never intended for the purpose, to gain recognition. The divergent experience of TUC affiliated and Non-TUC unions is analysed, illustrating the reasons as to why many non-TUC unions have increased their membership during a period whilst the majority of TUC unions have lost membership. The thesis exposes that whilst unions have responded to the various crises facing them over the past 25 years, they have failed to effectively exploit the Employment Relations Act 1999. Whilst the Act is apparently producing some advances in union recognition, the developments are not producing increased union membership and density. The trend towards conglomerate unionism as the model upon which to build a future for trade unionism is challenged. The thesis illustrates that whilst trade union preoccupation with mergers has helped to ensure short-term 'survival', the strategy for both individual union and aggregate growth is proving to be a longer-term failure', producing financial weakness. A number of examples of this failure of merger to produce improvements in either membership or finance are used in the analysis. The thesis illustrates how the loss of the employers subsidy and union membership agreements have had a serious effect upon union membership and finances, concluding that because these 'supports' will never be restored, union membership and density can never again achieve its pre 1979 density levels. A 'live' example of the value of Partnership Agreements is utilised, which illustrates that unions can 'market' themselves as vehicles through which employers can accommodate statutory and regulative changes in the management of their employees. The thesis argues that the Partnership approach may be the way forward within the changed industrial and political context of the UK.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors : Edwards, Ray.
Date : 2005
Additional Information : Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Surrey (United Kingdom), 2005.
Depositing User : EPrints Services
Date Deposited : 30 Apr 2019 08:07
Last Modified : 20 Aug 2019 15:32

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