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The contents of partnership agreements in Britain 1990-2007

Samuel, P. & Bacon, N. (2010). The contents of partnership agreements in Britain 1990-2007. Work, Employment & Society, 24(3), pp. 430-448. doi: 10.1177/0950017010371646


This article assesses the contents of the majority of employer-union partnership agreements signed in Britain from 1990 to 2007. Few agreements contain the expected partnership principles and most express modest overall aims and limited ambition. Typical agreements are substantively hollow with more than one-third containing no substantive provisions; and procedurally biased, with more than four-fifths offering unions greater involvement in employers’ decisions. Partnership agreements continue the procedural bias of traditional British collective agreements representing the lowest common denominator of agreement — unions work towards the success of the enterprise in return for involvement in employers’ decisions. The implications for New Labour’s Third Way approach and the policy of encouraging voluntary partnership agreements to promote fairness at work are considered.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: industrial relations; mutual gains; New Labour; partnership; Third Way; trade unions;
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

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