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To what extent has British employment relations changed since 1980?

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Introduction

Employment Relations HM3022 Assignment By Adam Tilston Reg No 00302568 Nature and Context of Employment Relations 1. To what extent has British employment relations changed since 1980? In 1979, Margaret Thatcher and her new Conservative party were voted in as the party to change Britain. A seventeen-year span running from 1979 to 1997 saw two Prime Ministers at the helm of a major change in Employment Relations. Mrs Thatcher believed that Britain should go back to the "Golden Years", where there was high production and employers ruled with an iron fist. Britain was in a poor state, their were strikes after strikes after strikes and the Conservative party had ways of dealing with these problems, dissolve some of the power trade unions had, and hand this power back to employers. This started the ball rolling for continuous decline in Trade Union membership to name one feature of change. The Government wanted to reduce Trade Union power and also reduce employees statutory rights. These changes that were brought about by the Conservative party of the 1980's, were said to be "frequent and controversial". These emphases have had a great effect on Employment Relations, especially on the labour market. ...read more.

Middle

Also union members now had to give their written consent every three years if they wished to pay their union subscription by the check off system. To add to this, the act created the Commissioner for the Protection Against Unlawful Industrial Action. This is basically if there is an unlawful industrial act, and there is likely to be a prevention in receiving goods or services for an individual, then they can apply for a high court order to prevent further industrial action. According to Gall and MacKay (1996) "since 1982 for a trade dispute, as legally defined, to exist 1) there must be a dispute between workers and their own employer and 2) the dispute must be wholly or mainly about such matters as pay and conditions, jobs, allocation of work, discipline etc." The changes rung in by every ERA the Conservative are announced resulted in one of the major changes in employment relations, the reduction in Trade Union membership. A quote here from Norman Tebbit relays the attitudes that the Conservatives had about Trade Unions 'The arrogant misuse of the wealth and power of Trade Unions to serve political ambitions of unrepresentative leaders has been a growing cause of public concern. ...read more.

Conclusion

The 1999 and 2002 Employment Act introduced by the Labour Government as well as the minimum wage have been two of there notable changes, but it is pointed out by Rose 2003 that "The balance of power between employers and employees in the workplace even where unions are recognised, hardly changed as a result of legislative developments; employers are likely to remain in the ascendancy and continue to dominate the employment relations agenda for the foreseeable future (IRS, 1999; Kessler and Bayliss, 1998 Smith and Morton, 2001, Dickens and Hall 2003)." These two acts are said to "contain EU inspired provisions which improve individual rights at work". Therefore the European Union have influenced the changes made by Labour and they will probably carry on to be highly influential in determining policies such as Age and Gender at work and Equal Pay Rights. It is also mentioned by Rose (2003) that the changes made by the New Labour Government, are not a significant part of Employment Relations. Only time will tell to see if Labour is to have a profound effect, which the Conservatives had, on Employment Relations. To conclude, a quote by McKay sums up the change from 1980 onwards "The Conservative governments' years in office ushered in a move to the right, to de-regulate labour markets. ...read more.

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