Fairness at Work

A Critical Analysis of the Employment Relations Ac

By Claire Kilpatrick

From the White Paper on Fairness at Work, it seemed that the enhanced protection of collective rights was central to New Labor's industrial relations settlement. Reforms were promised relating to diverse matters such as blacklisting, discrimination against trade union members, trade union recognition and industrial action. Moreover, the Blair Government sought to portray trade unions as suitable representatives of workers in the context of grievance and disciplinary procedures, appropriate recipients of information and consultation and potential contributors to a new culture of labor relations. This culture was encapsulated in the term partnership. This book examines the rhetorical claims made in the White Paper (and later in Parliament) alongside the actual reforms contained in the Employment Relations Act 1999. It studies these developments in their broader context, including Britain's recent industrial relations history and the perceived need to find a third way which navigates between pre-existing Labor and Conservative ideologies. The pressures placed on British policies by international and European organizations are considered as the other social, political and economic dynamics which shaped the Government's policies. A detailed account of the new statutory provisions is provided, together with an analysis of their potential impact. The argument in this book is that a careful and detailed analysis of these reforms reveals the limitations of New Labor's industrial agenda. Ironically, these legislative changes are primarily individualistic in their orientation. It is the individual employer and employee who constitute the chief parties to the new partnership which is to be the employment relationship. Trade unions are not social partners essential to the protection of workers' interests but, rather, potentially useful mediators who must prove their value by acting responsibly and cooperatively. Additional rights and protections are bestowed on the individual trade union member, but the trade-off would seem to be greater responsibilities for trade unions. Ultimately, individual choice is given priority over collective bargaining and action. The book seeks to highlight the difficulties which will arise from such a limited agenda.


288 pages

Publication Date: 3/1/2001
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781841130835


Temporarily out of stock

Temporarily out of stock.