Recent trends in union recognition in UK firms

The basis of my blog today is a first - it's based on an academic paper. Most of my blog entries, as anyone who has read my blog would see, are based on newspaper articles, trade journals and some primary research done by independent organizations.

One of the main reason why I am blogging about the article - Have Unions Turned the Corner? New Evidence on Recent Trends in Union Recognition in UK Firms (Jo Blanden, Stephen Machin and John Van Reenen, British Journal of Industrial Relations, 44/2: 169-190) - is because it's available for free.

This is hardly the time and place for such an argument, but I can't help feeling that it would be helpful if all academic research was freely available, particularly for blogging. Perhaps more academics would then engage with the public rather closed circles and small groups of interested students.

However, another main reason is the content - an evaluation of union activity since the late 1990s and the end of nearly two decades of Conservative rule and a raft of anti-trade union legislation.

The article seems worthy of at least a brief read, especially if you are interested in contemporary employment relations and human resource management. An abstract of the article is as follows:

This paper reports results from a recent survey conducted on unionization in over 650 firms in the private sector in the UK. The survey shows that since 1997 there has been a slight fall in derecognition, but a relatively large increase in union recognition. This increase in new recognition agreements is consistent with the idea that the incoming Labour government had a positive effect on the ability of unions to gain recognition, either through the 1999 legislation or more indirectly through changing the political climate.

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