Participation and Nationalization: The Case of British Coal from the 1940s to the 1980s

  • Jim PhillipsEmail author


Participation was one of three voice mechanisms utilized by workers in the nationalized coal industry in Britain from the 1940s to the 1980s. The others were collective bargaining and trade union engagement in public policymaking. This analysis uses an extent-location-scope schema to show that worker participation in the coal industry gradually became stronger from the 1940s to the 1970s. Extent moved beyond consultation toward joint decision-making; location shifted from workplaces to regional and then national fora within the industry’s management structures; and scope broadened from work-organization to decisions on pit closures and national energy policy. Strengthening participation was accompanied by enhanced collective bargaining and union influence in policymaking until the 1980s, when the Thatcher turn irrevocably weakened each of the three voice mechanisms.


Nationalization Participation Union voice Coal industry 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social and Political SciencesUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK

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