Employment Relations in Non-Union Firms

Employment Relations in Non-Union Firms

Employment Relations in Non-Union Firms

Employment Relations in Non-Union Firms

Synopsis

In this volume the authors reconceptualise the employment realtionship by focussing on the organizational dynamics of trust, attitude and identity. This framework is used to explain how the employment conditions of unorganised workers are made and influenced in the absence of a collective voice for employees.

Excerpt

The research reported in this book deals with employment relations in non-union firms and the ideas underpinning the research took place in the mid 1990s; initially as a series of discussions between the two authors about what life would be like in the non-union organisation. While both of us had a practical background in dealing with industrial relations in organisations that recognised trade unions, neither of us had ever worked in a non-union firm. For this reason, the rather loose question of what it is like to work in a firm with no trade union presence was one that surfaced in our discussions with alarming regularity.

Although there have always been firms in which trade unions are not recognised by management, until the early 1980s the majority of employees in Great Britain were union members, and their working lives were strongly influenced by these bodies. Since then however, the non-union organisation has become far more commonplace. There has also been a dramatic shift in public policy, including employment legislation that deals with statutory trade union recognition, together with increasing regulation originating in the European Union with regard to both individual and collective rights. Against this background trade unions have sought to rebuild themselves; to some extent by paying increased attention to unorganised sectors of the economy. With these and other issues in mind, our initial query was eventually transformed into a more extensive set of research questions. These addressed the things that we wanted to know about the nature of employment relations in non-union organisations (see Chapter 1) and from this point onwards, the research project rapidly took shape.

The book is intended to appeal to students on final year undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes, and to academics and practitioners in the areas of industrial relations, human resource management and organisational analysis. In writing the book one of our main concerns has been to enable readers to get a feel for the nature of employment in these non-union firms. A second concern is that we should make connections between academic debates and the reality of life in these organisations at the start of the new millennium.

Like many projects of this type, the topic is approached in an interdisciplinary way. In this respect, and in addition to their own knowledge of

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