Workplace Employee Representatives, 1980-2004

Publication date: 24 Jul 2008 | Publication type: NIESR Discussion Paper | Theme: Trade, Investment & Productivity, Employment & Social policy | NIESR Author(s): Forth, J | External Author(s): Charlwood, A. | JEL Classification: J51; J52; J53. | NIESR Discussion Paper Number: 317

This paper focuses on the changing prevalence and activities of workplace employee representatives over the period 1980-2004. The broad changes that affected industrial relations in Britain over this period had profound effects for trade unions. How did these changes affect employee representation in the workplace? The paper assesses whether the numbers of shop stewards fell in line with union membership. It also investigates changes in the characteristics of shop stewards changed over time, and changes in their role. The paper also considers whether a declining preference for unionism combined with legislative support for employee consultation to breed more extensive systems of non-union employee representation.

Keyword tags: 
shop stewards, trade unions, non-union representatives, employee representation