Modernization and Workplace Relations
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We hear much these days, from politicians and media commentators alike, about the need to ‘modernize’ UK workplace relations. It is a term which, as a rhetorical device, is intended to convey a sense of rationality and progress. Thus, attempts to ‘democratize’ the workplace by way of new forms of employee participation bolstered by distinctively cooperative relationships between employer and union ‘partners’ have become synonymous with a modernization process that purports to mark out fresh paths to ‘market competitiveness’ and ‘business success’. The power of the rhetoric is such that opposition is often regarded as both reactionary and pointless. Workers who question the new orthodoxy are routinely accused of being misguided and misled whilst their trade unions are often vilified for reacting like contemporary ‘luddites’.
KeywordsTrade Union Human Resource Management Employment Relationship Employee Participation Lean Production
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