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Trade unions and redundancy: Opposition and acquiescence.

Ball, Christopher James (1990) Trade unions and redundancy: Opposition and acquiescence. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis focuses on the collective responses of union members and unions to redundancy. It adopts a theory of trade union action based on the idea that workers react to violations of what they perceive to be "rights" in the employment context. "Rights" are to a degree inculcated into the minds of workers by "union cultures", which condition moral and ethical judgements of behaviour. Connections are drawn between "cultures", "ideologies" and "world views". Workers' responses to redundancy it is suggested should show evidence of the influence of union cultures in a sequence of events over long periods of time. This is borne out in the empirical chapters; Chapter 4 (which describes the historical background to the 1965 Redundancy Payments Act) quotes developments in union responses to redundancy since the 1930s. In a further section, Chapter 5, a case study of a series of redundancy events in the computer company, ICL, is provided, covering union responses to redundancy in the period 1969 to 1979. The evidence also calls into question the view expressed in some academic and policy work on redundancy, that the 1965 Redundancy Payments Act has defused union opposition to redundancy. The period before 1965, the evidence suggests, could not be characterised as a period of strong union opposition, and the years since the passing of the Act have not seen a predominance of union acquiescence. On this basis, too, Hardy's argument that managements have managed redundancy and closure by a process of legitimisation, is called in to question. Also, the work of neo-classical labour economists, who see workers and union attitudes towards redundancy in terms of the decisions of "economic man", is refuted by the evidence and the argument in the thesis, which emphasises the moral influence of unions and the practice of unionism.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sociology, Industrial and Labor Relations
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

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