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Faculty of Economics

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Brown, W.

Industrial Relations in Britain under New Labour, 1997-2010: a post mortem


Abstract: A revival of trade unions was widely expected when Blair’s New Labour government took over from the Conservatives in Britain in 1997. This did not occur. Collective bargaining continued to retreat. The paper discusses the implications of the changing economic context for the government’s legal innovations, notably statutory trade union recognition and a minimum wage. It describes the consequences for industrial relations. It concludes that New Labour’s legacy may lie in its nurturing of the institutions of social partnership and the use of conciliation.

Keywords: British Industrial Relations, New Labour, trade unions, collective bargaining, partnership, Low Pay Commission, Acas, labour legislation, industrial conciliation

JEL Codes: J50 J52 J58

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