By S. Coulter
New Labour used to be outwardly antagonistic to exchange unions and their matters. but the Blair govt labored heavily with the TUC on a number of key employment reforms. Steve Coulter analyses the size of the usually fractious Labour-union partnership and exhibits how the TUC pursued an 'insider lobbying' path to effect the form of latest Labour's rules.
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Additional info for New Labour Policy, Industrial Relations and the Trade Unions
Within this tradition, the ‘Varieties of Capitalism’ (VoC) analysis of Hall and Soskice (2001) is particularly important because it directly addresses the power relations between labour market actors in the political economy. In a nutshell, VoC is concerned with the macro-structures of national political economies, analysed according to variations in the microfoundations of comparative advantage and centring on the activities and preferences of firms (Hancké, Rhodes and Thatcher 2007: 5). From this perspective, countries can be divided according to whether either market or non-market modes of coordination between economic actors predominate.
The first was the limited capacity for coordination of the TUC itself, which is much weaker in comparison with its union affiliates than, for instance, the German DGB (Frege and Kelly 2003: 19). Although capable of taking the initiative on policy ideas it is, and always has been, a voluntary and weakly-organised federation of disparate producer interests. Cleavages between the TUC, in its role as the main interlocutor with the government/employers’ organisations, and the trade union movement itself, were reflected organisationally in the division between the TUC’s full-time secretariat, and the General Council and Congress.
In other words, as predicted by VoC, a coalition formed between employers and the state with the aim of undermining the ability of trade unions to recruit, organise and take strike action. Second, as argued by the industrial relations literature, the union movement itself increasingly lacked the industrial strength and internal cohesion to mobilise effectively to oppose this. 0004 The Political Economy of UK Industrial Relations preferences of employers in its first-term industrial relations program.
New Labour Policy, Industrial Relations and the Trade Unions by S. Coulter