Does labor-management partnership deliver mutual gains? Evidence from UK public services

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Extract: In Britain, labor−management partnership has been the fulcrum of the Labor Government's employment relations programme since its election in 1997. The Involvement and Participation Association (IPA, 1997; website: − the influential employers’ organization − has been at the forefront of promoting labor−management partnership to improve productivity in UK firms through greater employee involvement and participation (see The Trades Union Congress (TUC; partnership institute website: and several of its constituent unions have also endorsed partnership with employers as a route to promote employee ‘voice’ at work, secure better bargaining outcomes and improve union membership levels and density (Undy, 2001). Union density in the UK private sector has declined from 19.9 per cent in autumn 1997 to 17.2 per cent in autumn 2005, while in the public sector it has declined from 60.9 per cent to 58.6 per cent over the same period of time (Grainger, 2006). Advocates of partnership argue that such arrangements deliver mutual gains to the parties involved, viz. higher productivity and profits for employers, better wages and higher employment security to workers and greater influence over management decisions for unions, which in turn help them to attract and recruit new members (e.g. Haynes & Allen, 2001; Deery & Iverson, 2005).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-108
Number of pages34
JournalAdvances in Industrial and Labor Relations
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2009


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