United Kingdom - Austerity measures undermining collective bargaining

The Trades Union Congress (TUC – UK) reported that in recent years, following the financial crisis and in line with austerity measures, the UK government imposed a pay cap on the public sector workforce – which in many parts of the public sector was not a subject of consultation. In recent years, the range of issues covered by collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

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has become limited to pay, hours and holidays and in some workplaces, employers will only negotiate on pay. Moreover, due to the inadequacies of UK labour law and industrial relations industrial relations The individual and collective relations and dealings between workers and employers at the workplace, as well as the institutional interaction between unions, employers and also the government.

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system unions often face significantly difficulties securing recognition recognition The designation by a government agency of a union as the bargaining agent for workers in a given bargaining unit, or acceptance by an employer that its employees can be collectively represented by a union. with employers for the purposes of collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
. There is no national level bargaining in the UK and sector level bargaining is rare outside of the public sector.

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