British Workplace Industrial Relations 1980–1984

Publication Date01 Jul 1987
AuthorMark Stevens,Neil Millward
DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8543.1987.tb00713.x
British Journal
of
Industrial Relations
25:2
July
1987
0007-1080
$3.00
SY
M
POSl
U
M
British Workplace Industrial
Relations
1980-1 984
Neil
Millward and Mark
Stevens
Surveys sponsored by The Department
of
Employment; Economic and Social Research
Council; Policy Studies Institute; Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service.
Trade Unions Through The Recession
1980-1 984
John Kelly
*
The publication
of
the second Workplace Industrial Relations Survey,
covering the period
1980-1984
provides an opportunity to consider the
impact
of
the recession on trade union membership and union bargaining
power. Although these are not the objectives of the survey’s authors, their
data are nonetheless relevant in looking at these questions.
The major findings
of
Millward and Stevens
(1986)
on trade union
organisation are by now fairly well-known and can therefore be summarised
briefly as follows. Although total trade union membership in Britain fell by
almost two millions between
1980
and
1984,
much
of
this decline was due to
the disproportionate closure
of
large manufacturing plants with high union
density. There is very little evidence
to
suggest that employers have
withdrawn recognition from trade unions, and consequently establishments
which recognised trade unions in
1980
were almost certain to
do
so
in
1984.
The overall shop steward population rose slightly between
1980
and
1984
with the predictable decline in manufacturing being more than offset by
growth in both the public sector and private services. The incidence
of
joint
shop steward committees and inter-establishment combine committees
seems
not to have undergone any major change, although alterations in
*Lecturer. London School
of
Economics and Political Science.

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