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From Voluntarism to New Labour
Issues: The Role of the State
In any aspect of public life, who decides what role the state should play? Do some groups in civil society have more influence than others, and if so why? How do the roles of the state vary between countries? What role does national culture and tradition play? Is the state s influence withering away? Can the state be resisted?
the executive. the judiciary. comprising the legislature. the police and local government (it) is the institutional system of political domination with a monopoly over the legitimate use of violence and over taxation and money supply (Hill 1981: 239) Note also growing importance of pan-national state initiatives EU (Employment Strategy) .What is the state? A set of institutions. central administration.
What is the State? The State has the monopoly of physical violence in society (Castells 2000) As well as underpinning relationships of power through this and through legislation it embodies symbolic violence through ideology conditioning human values and shaping perceptions and notions of legitimacy (Gramsci and hegemonic power) View of the state as a machine of repression (Althusser 1971) .
dispute resolution and for some. as employer Indirectly ± providing important context µRules of engagement¶ in employee relations ± boundaries of acceptability and legitimacy Shaping climate and priorities in employee relations µBest practice¶ in employee relations µsetting an example¶ .The State and the Employment Relationship The state influences the relationship between employer and employee directly and indirectly: Directly ± through legislation.
Productivity and earnings Skills acquisition and low unemployment .The State Specific interests and objectives of the State in employee relations more complex ± at various times Maintenance of order and stability Protection of employees at work in the absence of alternatives Maintenance of parity of bargaining power between the main parties Control of earnings and inflation ± incomes policies Economic growth .
The State: Objectives in Employee Relations Achieved through multiple roles As legislator As peacekeeper As economic manager As employer Ideological role (hegemonic power) Importance of each of these roles has varied over time .
The State Legislator Peacekeeper Economic Manager Ideology Civil Society Employer Civil Society .
Denmark Liberal Collectivism ± State support for free CB and for trade unions (Voluntarism in C20th Britain) Market Individualism ± free market model (Thatcher 1980s) support for managerial prerogative. Eastern Europe (in past). constraints on market imperfections (e.g trade unions) . Austria. Netherlands. Ireland.Contrasting Roles of the State Statism ± State control over major elements of employee relations ± China. Singapore(?) Corporatist/Neo-Corporatist/Bargained Corporatist (tripartite arrangements ± shared decision-making) Scandinavia.
The State Ideology Market Individualism Liberal Collectivism Bargained Corporatism State Corporatism Statism Trade Union Power Market Regulation Social Justice Industrial Conflict Areas of Concern and Activity LaissezFaire Corporatism .
inflation and the role of unions in µrestrictive practices¶ ± Royal Commission (Donovan) 1968 . voluntary collective bargaining at industry level established in many sectors Post war social settlements in Britain and Europe By 1960s state concerns with low productivity.voluntarist period of µcollective laissez faire¶ (Ewing 1998) State encouraged voluntary collective bargaining By 1939.The State and Employee Relations in Britain: Historical Background Traditional view ± limited state role in employee relations for much of C20th .
Breakdown in 1978/79 ± µWinter of Discontent¶ . 1970s Present day. Growth of individual employment rights ± areas of discrimination law. maternity. equal pay.return to support for CB ± ACAS and auxiliary legislation 1974-79 and µSocial Contract¶. Industrial Relations Act 1971 ± attempts at restrictive labour law but failed Mid 1970s .The State: Historical Background Donovan argued for voluntary reforms in collective bargaining State response more interventionist ± In Place of Strife (1969).
The State: Historical Background Recent revisionist work by Howells (2005) argues State has played the major role in shaping development of employment relations in Britain in last 150 years Highly interventionist in three key stages 1890 ± 1940 and establishment of industry-wide CB µvoluntarism¶ highly interventionist (Ewing 1998) 1940 ± 1979 shift to decentralised system of employment relations 1979 de-regulation of employment relations. neoliberal offensive .
Germany and much of EU Free market ideology and µNew Right¶ policies but µstrong state¶ in employee relations ± restrictive law until 1997. Period 1979-97 an attack on the bases of trade union power ± and emphasis on managerial prerogative.break with post-war consensus and µsocial settlement¶ ± major ideological shift See now in France.The State and De-regulation: Thatcherism and Beyond Thatcherism . . Unions and collective bargaining µmarket imperfections¶ influence curbed.
Different notion of µmodel employer¶ in public sector ± GCHQ.The State and De-regulation: Thatcherism and Beyond Legal regulation dominant post-1979 supplants CB Six major pieces of legislation 1980-1989 curbed trade union power and influence. changes to ACAS remit .
New Labour and Employee Relations Concerns with µfairness¶ but also competitiveness as a route to culture change in employment relations µFairness¶ reflected in: NMW. reduction in qualifying period for many employment rights and µsocial chapter¶ µFloor of rights¶ from EU and from NMW Emphasis on social partnership ± win/win employee rels Competitiveness in: Britain still the most lightly regulated labour market in EU (Blair 1997 in preface to Fairness at Work White Paper) Retention of most of Conservative governments¶ trade union laws and resistance to some EU law . statutory recognition procedure.
learning accounts Assistance to job seekers and long-term unemployed Anti-discrimination legislation (from EU) Changes to unfair dismissal legislation Statutory union recognition procedures .New Labour and Employment Relations Some specifics largely supply-side initiatives to improve workings of the labour market Family-friendly initiatives Training and the labour market ± IT learning centres.
New Labour and Employment Relations Individual labour law extended to areas previously untouched by statute law ± wage levels. holidays Efficiency wage thesis ± higher labour costs force employers to use labour more efficiently Business friendly ± has made changes but emphasis on flexibility and anti ± EU initiatives that impose undue burdens on business (I&C) Blair sees the New Labour project as nothing less than a culture change in employment relations ± is he right? New employment relations for a modern (knowledge) economy . hours of work.
. 2007). highlights continuing problems faced by unorganised workers Many unaware of their rights but even when they are. unable to defend them through lack of effective representation. less generous (Smith and Morton 2006) many of the claimed benefits are rarely attained in practice Anna Pollert (2005.New Labour and Employment Relations Recent assessment (Dickens and Hall 2006) suggests pursuit of µFairness¶ but only up to a point ± contingent on business concerns Others.
Firefighters dispute. Influence on the issues and conduct of employment relations greater than is commonly assumed. establishes µclimate and context¶ and sets an example. Miners Strike. . At times a more interventionist stance ± Industrial Relations Act.The State and Employee Relations: Some Reflections Role and influence of the state in employment relations considerable Sets the µrules of engagement¶. Often does this by appearing to do very little ± collective laissez-faire ± can be a distant observer at the µringside¶ but intervenes when necessary.
The State and Employee Relations: Some Reflections Globalisation threat to power of nation state but Continuing evidence that national institutions matter (Boyer 1999) National systems of regulation continue to exert influence even in EU (Rubery et al. 2008) Legal regulation in nation state continues to be dominated by the laws of that state Many employee relations institutions remain firmly located within the nation state .
Historical Studies in Industrial Relations Vol.. Vol. Britain and Individual Employment Rights: Paper Tigers. 5 Howell. (1998). K. (2006) Fairness up to a point. (2005) Trade Unions and the State. Vol. 44 (3) . Oxford.. Assessing the impact of New Labour s employment legislation . British Journal of Industrial Relations. Princeton University Press Pollert. Economic and Industrial Democracy Vol. L. P. Fierce in Appearance but Missing in Tooth and Claw .The State: Further Reading Dickens. 39(6) Smith. Human Resource Management Journal. 28(1) Rubery and Others (2008) Surviving the EU? The future for national employment models in Europe . Nine Years of New Labour: Neoliberalism and Workers Rights . C. M. (2007). 16 (4) Ewing. Morton. Hall. The State and Industrial Relations: Collective Laissez Faire Revisited . (2006). Industrial Relations Journal Vol. G. A.
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