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Since collective bargaining is a process directly associated with the trade unions, it can be rightly concluded that a fall in trade union membership would reduce the collective number of workers the unions represents, and therefore would lead to a decline in the collective bargaining practice itself. Union membership in the UK was in a consistent decline period from 1979 to 1998, and this can be attributed to a certain set of factors, both direct and underlying reasons. The direct causes of the dramatic decline of union membership are as below (Millward et al., 2000): Unions failed to gain a bargaining presence where it was necessary in the newly established workplaces, as the British manufacturing industry declined, which led to the establishment of new workplaces The union membership in places where they were previously recognized led to people leaving the trade unions as a follow up to other. The decline however is not due to these simple factors only, there are certain underlying factors which must be identified and critically analyzed in order to complete the study. Firstly, the macroeconomic conditions of UK underwent a change during the decline era, there was massive unemployment which led to a weakened status of the employees who did not want to lose their jobs by undertaking the risk of contradicting the employers, since the number of layoffs were high, this consciously instigated the workers to leave trade unions, thus leading to decline in membership and collective bargaining. Secondly, the legal and institutional policy framework established by the state government led to an automatic decline, since the policies were anti-union and unfriendly, the unions could not reach agreements since they no longer held a powerful position, thus resulting in declining membership. Thirdly, the policies instated by the management itself focused on meeting individual needs rather than coordinating with the trade union’s representative to reach a consensus, this change in policy abolished the need of having joined any trade unions, thereby reducing the membership number by dramatic numbers. And lastly, according to Metcalf, the aggregate number of union membership is not just a function of environmental factors, but it also accounts for the way in which the trade union responds to the environmental changes, and in UK, the trade unions did not respond diligently, while making the recruitment plan more strenuous, and by ignoring the environmental changes leading to no major changes in the union’s agendas, thereby resulting in further decline (Metcalf, 1991, 22). In light of all the reasons stated and explained above, it can be rightly concluded that there were major underlying reasons which led to a decline in union membership which simultaneously caused a decline in the collective bargaining process and practices in the United Kingdom, since they are directly proportional to each other. The decline of one will inevitably result in the decline of other, because collective bargaining is a practice undertaken by trade unions to meet their objectives, and striking agreements ...Show more


Exam Questions 2 1) Critically explore the underlying reasons for the recent decline in collective bargaining processes and practices in the United Kingdom? Collective bargaining is a practice undertaken by the trade unions which aims at reaching certain agreements through the process of negotiation with the employers of an organization or an industry (when considering on a wider scale)…
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