rights and economics.
Drawing from sociology, Otto Kahn-Freund developed a theory known as 'collective laissez-faire'. He theorized that the law did not play a major role in relations between employers andemployees, and that is was trade unions that were responsible for protecting employees.
During the 1960s and 1970s the influence of this theory diminished asgovernments started to both promote workers rights and to actively manage the economyin order to tackle the growing strike problem and to encourage economic growth.In the 1980s the Conservative government in Britain, following the ideologies of indivdualism and deregulation, wanted to use the rights of workers to protect indivdualsfrom trade unions rather than protect employees from employers.
To tackle the problem of striking they dismantled laws supporting collective bargaining and narrowed the protection offered to strikers from liabilites in tort.
InIreland the sitution differed and the ICTU collaborated with the government to enter anational agreement. This resulted in trade unions being less marginalized than in the U.K but ultimately the situation were similar.
In the late 1980s the government in the UK began to protray legislation whichregulated firms on issues such as employment, health and safety and enviromental protectionas ‘burdens on business’ and argued that these burdens should be removed and that employerswould be more inclined to hire employees if they weren’t hindered by costly regulations. Thiswas the first appearance in British labour law of neoclassical economic thought.
H. Collins, “The productive disintegration of labour law” (1997) 26
ACL Davies, “
Perspectives on Labour Law
” (Cambridge, 2
Ed, 2008,) at 3
Ibid at 10-15
Ibid at Chapter 1
Pay, Politics, and Economic Performance in Ireland 1970–1987
Department of Trade and Industry, “
Burdens on Business: Report of a Scrutiny of Administrative and Legislative Requirements