ABSTRACT

In the past, and particularly before the Second World War, the workplace was considered the domain of the employer, with no sharing of authority possible. Although the legitimacy of capitalist relations of production were contested even into the post-war period, any claims of workers’ control were effectively abandoned under the tacit Fordist compromise, which left production issues firmly in the hands of employers and limited bargaining to the distribution of the fruits of production. Nevertheless, a complex system of employee representation in the workplace grew up as institutions were added to each other in a rather ad hoc fashion. Although the terminology may change between the public and private sectors, the main, although by no means only, structures for employee representation in the workplace are employee delegates, works committees and trade union branches.