chapter  5
18 Pages

Employer opposition to union recognition

ByGregor Gall

With the arrival of the ERA, the issue of union recognition has now returned to the top of the industrial relations agenda in Britain. So too has the issue of employer opposition to it. This should come as no great surprise given the role of employers, in general, in the last twenty or so years in helping to account for both the more hostile environment in which unions operate and the decline of union membership and influence in British society. The imminence, presence, and use of the statutory mechanisms has created both a real and potential backlash against the tide of “managerial Thatcherism” that has increasingly come to dominate the way in which employers determine workplace relations in Britain. The backlash is “real” where a large number of campaigns for recognition have been won and are under way as well as where the statutory mechanisms are used and threatened, and “potential” where management may yet face campaigns and may tailor their behavior to meet this. Consequently, for the first time in over two decades the prerogative of management is being challenged in a significant manner, and with some legal support.