Union Business: Trade Union Organisation and Financial Reform in the Thatcher Years

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Overview

It is fashionable to speak of trade unions in the UK as organisations in decline. They have lost membership, power, and influence over the last decade. However, those who have commented on the possible long-term decline, or even disappearance, of unions have not generally examined their organisation or, in particular, their financial status, and these are the factors which ultimately dictate unions' ability to survive, recruit, and influence employers. This book provides the first systematic picture of union financial status for thirty years, and reveals a dramatic picture. Though, overall, unions have become financially less healthy in the post-war period, many unions experienced an improved financial position during the membership contraction of the Thatcher years. The authors analyse the reasons for this, and also reveal the extent to which unions are highly dependent on overt or covert financial support from employers. They also show that the long-term financial decline of unions has been more affected by the competition between unions for membership rather than the effects of traumatic industrial disputes.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Review of the hardback: ' ... fascinating analysis of trade union finances during the Thatcher years ... The book provides a wealth of topical data on union finances with chapters on more interesting cases such as the Mineworkers, the Engineers and the Electricians. But its more general interest lies in its focus on an important and neglected issue: the reliance of trade unions for their very survival on the goodwill of employers.' Robert Taylor, Independent
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521153133
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 6/10/2010
  • Pages: 268
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
1 Introduction: unions in the 1980s 1
2 The financial status of British trade unions 1950-1989 7
3 Financial differences between unions 20
4 The role of financial matters in union organisation 34
5 The politics of union finances 55
6 Union size, growth, and financial performance 79
7 Strike activity and union finances 101
8 The National Union of Mineworkers: strikes and financial disaster 121
9 The GMB: merger and financial reform 140
10 The Amalgamated Engineering Union: back from the brink 154
11 The Banking, Insurance and Finance Union: competitive unionism and financial survival 170
12 The Electrical, Electronic, Telecommunications and Plumbing Trade Union: accountability and financial control 185
13 Conclusions: union business and business unionism 199
Appendix 1: Research methods 217
Appendix 2: Regression results 225
Appendix 3: Questions for finance officers 226
Appendix 4: Questions for General Secretaries 228
Appendix 5: Questionnaire: trade union finances 229
Appendix 6: The number of trade unions 237
Notes 238
References 246
Subject index 250
Index of trade unions 251
Author index 253
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