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Hand out list of terms
What seems particularly interesting to you about the British system?
Atlapedia and Labourstart
Political Context – United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Country of 60.4 million‑ in area smaller than Oregon
Highest population density in course
247 per square kilometer, compared to 3 for Canada and 31 for USA
Stable population ‑  3rd in W. Europe behind Germany and Italy but lowest growth rate
Form of Government
Constitutional Monarchy
 Unwritten constitution
 Monarch's power reduced to point of pure consultation
In effect ‑ system is almost unicameral
Since 1999 regional parliaments in Scotland and Wales.  Also in N. Ireland but that one is currently suspended
Conservative ‑ Tory
In power 1979-97, mostly under Margaret Thatcher
First government in the 20th century openly hostile to collective bargaining
In power 1997 to now
Prime Minister Tony Blair, re-elected 2001 and 2005
Perhaps most stable in the world
On corruption index, least corrupt in course and less than USA
House of Commons had 646 seats
Modern industrial economy
Highly industrialized, but like other such economies shifting toward services and white collar
High productivity and standards of living
Per capita GDP in 2002 below the USA and below only Canada in the course Measured on Human Development Index, rates below Sweden, Canada and USA but above France, Germany & Italy Alternative Quality of Life Measure puts it only above Italy in the course
No substantial agricultural exports but does produce most of its own food Smaller percentage of labor force in agriculture than any economically developed country (BLW)
Large coal, natural gas and oil deposits (North Sea)
Primary energy production is 10% of GDP, very high for a developed nation Still, largest sector is services, especially banking, insurance and business services
Dominated 19th Century World Economy
By end of World War II, clearly not the dominant economy any more or perhaps even a dominant economy
Living standards improved steadily to mid‑1970's
Growth of cradle to grave welfare state
National health insurance
National pension system
National system of welfare
More recently, every child 3-5 eligible for $2000 year child care allowance Britain's relative position in terms of economic growth deteriorated Income distribution has been growing less equal since 1980.  But unlike USA lowest paid workers still have some growth in their incomes Highest child poverty rate in course (but well below USA)
Conservative government relied on restrictive monetary and fiscal policies to combat inflation. Ignored goal of full employment and made inflation the primary target of economic policy Result was to raise unemployment 13.5% late 1985 in country where normal rate in 1960s was below 2%
2005 unemployment rate 4.7%
Lowest in the course and below USA
Taxation and Government spending
2005 ratio of taxes to GDP lowest in course (but way above the USA) 2005 ratio of government spending to GDP above only Canada in the course
As much consistency of Ideologies among actors as anywhere
Over‑all Society
Democracy and individual liberty
A bit more tolerance for collectivist intervention than US
Substantial differences in policy areas
Social services
Industrial subsidies
Since 19th century labor movement constitutional in orientation,
Accepting existing political order
Revolutionary Marxists visible but with limited support 
Still strong sense of class differences and class conflict
 Since 1979 reflected in dramatic increase in economic inequality
1st evidence of attempt at permanent organization - 1387
Serving Men of London Cordwainers
Function initially political
To deal with government - lobbying
Crucial issue at this time was relationship of unionism to law
1880's dominant union creed changed
From laissez faire to some variation of collectivism
May 1926 General Strike
Called over lockout of miners
TUC gave up after 9 days
2004 unions 26% of labor force ‑ peak 55% 1979 (BLW)
40% drop in number of unionists over that period
1980 ½ of British workers had never been unionists.  By 2003 ¾ of workers had never been unionists 2004 for first time women’s trade union density exceeded that of men
Public sector most highly organized part of economy
17% density in private sector
59% density in public sector
Dramatic decline in number of unions by merger and amalgamation continues with some quite large unions 2003 merger produced Amicus, largest primarily private sector union, largest manufacturing union, and largest union affiliated to Labour Party.  Now about tied for largest union in Britain with 1.2 million members
Largest unions traditionally general
2004 largest union (along with Amicus) is Unison which is primarily public sector
2004 affiliates have only about half members they had in 1979
Virtually all large unions belong
By mid 1970's many of the white collar unions had joined
All the major teacher and civil service unions now affiliated
Majority of affiliated union members now public employees
Limited funds
Traditionally British unions had quite low dues
Large group of shop stewards
elected in shop
credentialed by unions
unions rely on them heavily for recruitment and local bargaining
Inside work place, stewards represent only members of their own unions
not all employees
Reflected multi-unionism in many cases
What does article on Britain in BLW say about trends in multi-unionism? Has become much less common, with one union per workplace now the norm and more than three rare
Principal function is to act as spokesman with government
Its respect from governments in this role helped induce several otherwise largely non‑partisan white collar unions to join
Party leader since 1994 - Tony Blair
Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer is rival and Heir Apparent
The Labour Party and the Unions‑
Labour Party was until recently more closely integrated to unions then any other party in Europe 
Still union leaders don't seek direct control
Unions used to dominate party mechanisms
Used to be about 90% of Party membership affiliated through unions with unions dominating party conferences and National Executive
Unions dominated Party finances‑ provide 90%
1996 for first time unions provided less than 50% party finances
1990s Party changed to "one member one vote"
Dramatically decreased influence of major unions
Unions have lost special role in choosing parliamentary candidates but many labour MPs sponsored by specific unions
The Social Contract
Exchange of wage restraint for repeal of unfavorable industrial legislation and passage of legislation to promote social justice including new worker benefits, new union rights, and industrial democracy
Blair and TUC Convention
After coming to power, Blair addressed TUC
Told them to “Modernize or Die”
Labor and Employment Legislation
Unions glad for some of changes introduced but very unhappy that they are not more extensive Many unions see Blair Government as too much influenced by employers and neo-liberal (i.e. pro-market) economic thinking
Labour Government and Strikes
Opposition to some strikes, especially public sector strikes, by Blair Government, has angered some unions In 2004 Rail, Maritime and Transport Union disaffiliated from the Labour Party and several very large unions have significantly cut their contributions to the Party
Conservatives ‑
Little formal contact with unions except at top levels when in government
Thatcher Government really didn’t even bother with that
Has substantial contact and entree to unions
Especially at lower levels
Traditionally employers join industry associations
These conducted much of the IR activity on employer side
This has changed dramatically in 1980s and 90s with industry associations playing smaller role and often disappearing entirely Employers disaffiliated at a rapid rate in the 1980s leaving the large majority of workplaces outside the employer association network
Focus on industrial relations
It is an employers’ association, not a commercial or business association
Institute of Directors
Smaller group mostly representing small business
Gained some influence under Thatcher Government which found its approach more ideologically compatible
Limited intervention in industrial relations
Apart from supporting bargaining, government played little role in peace‑time IR
Government began to take a more active interest around 1970
Includes both Conservative and Labour Governments
Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service
Created by 1974 legislation
Offers mediation services
Also hears individual claims of statutory violations – especially unfair dismissal
Central Arbitration Committee
Created by 1975 legislation (under another name)
Now enforces statutory recognition procedures
Offers arbitration, not compulsory or binding but parties normally accept the awards
Traditionally much more important than in USA
Public utilities traditionally run by government (national or local) and nationalized industries included coal, steel, railroads
In 1980s and 90s all nationalized industries and most public utilities sold off Including telecommunications, natural gas, steel, coal and railroads
Various legal impediments to union activity
"The Document"‑ yellow dog contract
Injunctions not much used
Arbitration system during World War II
Unions and management agreed so not much enforcement necessary
Not much enforcement after war
1st post‑war prosecution in 1950 & the 2nd led to the demise of system
Wages Councils Act of 1959
Bipartite councils set minimum wages where bargaining didn’t exist
Only minimum wage system Britain had
Thatcher Conservative Government abolished these
These characteristics widely described by this term
Rarely did British IR issues end up in court.  Labor and Management were left to work things out for themselves
Hardly and labor lawyers at all
The Trade Union and Labor Relation Acts of 1974,76
Repealed bulk of 1971 Act
Broadened union immunities in cases of industrial conflict
Employment Protection Act of 1975
Notion of unfair dismissal extended and given teeth
I- Legislative Changes under the Thatcher Government ‑ Philosophy has changed from consulting with unions to weakening and neutralizing them
Regulated unions, collective bargaining, industrial conflict
Often the same issue was addressed several times (e.g. secret ballot elections, closed shop) with legislation increasingly restrictive of unions
Union officers must be elected every five years
Must be direct election.  Not by convention
Must poll members on whether to have political fund
Must be repolled every five years
Unions have won every one of these, allowing them to maintain political funds.  On average unions win these overwhelmingly
Outlawed Bridlington Principles
Principles binding on all TUC members not to raid each other
Gradual elimination of closed shop
First allowed exemption for religious reasons or if your employment predated the closed shop Eventually removed ability of union to take any action to enforce closed shop Also allowed anyone denied job because of union membership or non-membership to seek a legal remedy
Regulation of Picketing
Old law was no law
No legal right to picket but regulated only by the normal police power Question was one of immunity from normal civil and criminal laws which might apply (i.e. damage suit if picketing reduces ability of customers to enter business)
Limited purposes
For purpose of peacefully persuading any person to work or refrain from work
Secondary picketing
What is it?
Now there is no immunity from civil or criminal actions for secondary picketing
Immunity from lawsuits limited
To disputes between an employer and her/his employees
Not between groups of workers
Can’t relate principally to matters outside Britain
Can’t be a sympathy strike or political strike
Must be authorized by majority of union in secret ballot vote
Strikers not protected from “unfair dismissal” except in very limited cases Employer once again allowed to dismiss strikers with no legal interference
Non-strikers can’t be disciplined by union
Even when strike lawful and approved by majority of workers
Regulation of unofficial strikes
What are they?
To avoid strike votes, unions began to increase unofficial strikes Employers can dismiss unofficial strikers and can sue unions that engage in sympathy strikes to support such dismissed strikers Employers can sue unions for unofficial strikes called by their officials including shop stewards
Brought courts deeply into IR
Clear employers more willing to use favorable law against unions than at any time in the 20th century In part because of the growth of product market competition and in part because of the governments abandonment of full employment as a goal
Sought to bring about partnerships between unions and employer (BLW)
Series of laws on both IR and employment issues
Including Employment Relations Acts of 1999, 2002 and 2004
EU Policy Directives
Some of changes motivated by various EU policy directives including those on discrimination, family life and working time Blair Government signed EU Social Charter which Conservative Government had refused to do
Still encourages voluntary recognition
Union required to seek voluntary recognition first
Central Arbitration Committee can recommend recognition whenever the union has demonstrated majority support (e.g. membership lists)
Central Arbitration Committee can decide to hold election whenever it feels that is in best interest of good IR
This is convoluted and difficult process for the union
To win union must get majority and that must be at least 40% of the eligible employees, requirement unions have tried repeatedly to eliminate
Despite awkwardness of election process, seems to have encouraged more voluntary recognition
Since 2004 employers improper campaign activities prohibited in recognition or derecognition election campaign
First Contract Bargaining
Right of employees to negotiate individual contracts and opt out of collective ones still remains
After recognition parties have limited time to agree on procedures for bargaining
If they don’t Central Arbitration Committee imposes standard procedures including obligation to bargain about wages, hours and holidays
Failure of employer to follow procedures can ultimately result in contempt of court but there is no first contract arbitration
Discrimination against unionists
Blacklisting of unionists became illegal (although there seems to be a loophole that excludes previous union activity)
Can’t offer employees inducements to remain non-union or to avoid collective bargaining
This was part of the previous law that ILO asserted violated its conventions
Public sector similar to private sector
See article in BLW for discussion of what has happened with teachers
All employers must have grievance procedure
Employees must be able to appeal discipline (though this doesn’t apply to suspensions with pay or to warnings, verbal or written) Employees required to use these procedures before they can seek legal redress Employees will be entitled to additional compensation from tribunal if employer doesn’t follow these procedures
Employers must consult with union or employee representatives over planned redundancies or work transfers
Must consult with unions on training issues as well
Right to assistance
Employee entitled to be accompanied by union representative or fellow employee of their choice to any grievance or disciplinary hearing.  Can have union representative even if no union is recognized 2004 law gives this representative the right to respond to anything said at the meeting
1999 introduced first national minimum wage in Britain's history
Subminimum for 18-21 year olds
More recently even lower minimum for 16-17 year olds
Minimum has been raised several times and last increase in 2004 brought it to almost $9 per hour
Hours and Holidays
These changes based on EU Social Charter policy directives Entitled to 20 annual paid holidays/vacation.  2005 Blair Government agreed with unions to legislate so that national holidays don’t count toward the total
Flexible scheduling
Parents with small children have right to request flexible scheduling Employers required to give these requests serious consideration, i.e. to attempt to accommodate
Paid sick leave
Must provide at least 28 weeks!
Unfair Dismissal Protection
Now kicks in after one year, previously was two years
Again based on EU Social Charter
Employers with 150 employees (will gradually go down to 50) must inform employees of a variety of policy decisions and explain their reasons
Formerly prevalence of industry‑wide bargaining
By 1990s this system (and even company-wide national bargaining) had largely disappeared from private sector, replaced by single-plant bargaining
2004 approximately 35% of employees covered by collective bargaining
Notice coverage is significantly greater than union density
72% of public sector
21% of private sector
Prior to 1980, importance of informal workplace bargaining
Especially in coal mining and engineering
Conducted largely by shop stewards
Importance of informal understandings and workplace customs
Now replaced largely by formal workplace mechanisms
Most bargaining with white collar employees traditionally on single employer and even single plant basis
Government has also discontinued availability of arbitration at request of either party
Result of all this has been public sector pay fell substantially compared to private sector in 1980s and 1990s
Now some public sector employees trying to catch up
Since WWII treated as minima
Most other conditions treated as standard
Work Hours
Second highest annual hours in course after Canada and lowest average vacations and holidays EU Work Time Directive limits hours to 48 per week unless the nation allows workers to opt out voluntarily
Britain virtually the only major EU nation to permit opt outs
1/3 of work force has requested to opt out
EU suspects workers being coerced by employers and has launched investigation
Holidays and vacations
Must total 20 paid days, again based on EU Directive
Most strikes small, short and unofficial‑ coal, autos, shipbuilding esp. strike prone
Official vs. unofficial strikes
This prevalence of unofficial activity peculiarly British ‑ 1950s & 60s 90% strike activity unofficial
Frequent use of non‑strike sanctions, esp. work‑to‑rule and overtime ban
Has become most common dispute tactic
May have been twice as frequent as strikes in 1980s, reversing rates of 1970s
Lasted full year, March to March,
Over the issue of the right of the Coal Board to close uneconomic mines
Complete defeat for miners and their Marxist president, Arthur Scargill
Union committee voted to go back to work against advice of executive with 1/2 the miners already crossing picket lines to work and courts seizing most of the union's funds
Annual average work days lost per 1000 workers 1994-2003 2nd lowest in course
After Germany and even below USA
1998-99 levels at historic lows
Some increase since then with 12-year high in 2002 (but still lower than any year from 1946-1990 Followed by a decrease in 2003 and then a slight increase in 2004
1998-99 levels at historic lows
Employment Relations Act of 2000 prohibits termination of strikers during first 8 weeks of a legal strike
Remember must be postal secret ballot for strike to be legal
Still pattern of limited short strikes and non-strike actions
February 2000, Ford employees protested stalled contract negotiations
Scheduled 1-hour strike followed by 2 1-day strikes and 1 3-day strike
2003 pay dispute involving hospital cleaners, kitchen staff and porters
Imposed overtime ban – very common practice where effective
2004 Pay dispute university professors held a 1-day strike
Also boycotted all marking
2002-3 national strike by Fire Fighters
Led to real strain between union and the Labour Party
Strike, though called legally, could have been declared illegal as endangering public safety and Conservative Government undoubtedly would have
November 2004 Civil Service held one-day national strike
First national Civil Service strike in over a decade
1950s-1970s continual balance of payments crises
Led to almost continuous desire for wage restraint
Labour party offered
Settle coal strike‑which it did outside existing pay guidelines
Repealed Industrial Relations Act of 1971
Made income tax more progressive
Created ACAS and passed Acts of 1974, 75, 76
Promised to legislate on workers' participation – never did
TUC response
Call to hold wages to change in prices
Broke down 1978‑79 “winter of discontent” 
Helped produce Thatcher victory
Unfair dismissal ‑
Large majority of tribunal cases won by employees despite Thatcher government reducing level of protection