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Regulating Labour

Regulating Labour: The State, Neo-Conservatism and Industrial Relations

Larry Haiven
Stephen McBride
John Shields
Text editor Jesse Vorst
Copyright Date: 1990
Pages: 265
  • Book Info
    Regulating Labour
    Book Description:

    Regulating Labourpresents case studies from various countries, using the social and political insights of Gramsci and other progressive thinkers.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-0291-5
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. CHAPTER I The State, Neo-Conservatism and Industrial Relations
    (pp. 1-13)
    Larry Haiven, Stephen McBride and John Shields

    The 1970s and 1980s witnessed the rise of neo-conservative ideas and political movements in many Western countries. Such ideas and movements have challenged and, perhaps, displaced the conventional wisdom which prevailed in these countries for some thirty years after the Second World War. The challenge extended to the goals of economic policy, the respective roles of the state and markets, and the legitimacy of organisations such as trade unions which served to modify or restrain the operation of market forces. In this book the primary focus is on the consequences of the new ideas for industrial relations and trade unions....

  4. CHAPTER II Assault without Defeat: Contemporary Industrial Relations and the Canadian Labour Movement
    (pp. 14-44)
    Bob Russell

    Few observers of the industrial relations scene, be they rank and file activists, elected trade union leaders or research staff, would deny that major changes in industrial relations have occurred over the past decade. Indeed, there is widespread acknowledgment that after nearly twenty years of lived experience with crisis and restructuring, the political and economic climate of the 1990s, as it pertains to labour, is different in some consequential respects from the world of the 1960-70s. Thus, if we take Fordism to stand for the dominant model of capital accumulation since 1945 – and understand by this term a political-economic system...

  5. CHAPTER III Building a New Hegemony in British Columbia: Can Neo-Conservative Industrial Relations Succeed?
    (pp. 45-78)
    John Shields

    This chapter explores the phenomenon of neo-conservatism by addressing the question whether it constitutes a hegemonic project. The case study of British Columbia is utilised to provide a focus for the analysis because this is where the neo-conservative experiment in Canada is most advanced. It is argued that, while neo-conservative regimes perceive themselves to be a hegemonic alternative and have enjoyed considerable success in both helping to break the old Keynesian consensus and in shifting the language of political discourse to their own terrain, they have failed to impose a new hegemonic order of their own. This examination is centred...

  6. CHAPTER IV Hegemony and the Workplace: The Role of Arbitration
    (pp. 79-117)
    Larry Haiven

    The other essays in this collection concentrate on the operation of hegemony at the central level and on the struggle between employers as a group and central trade union movements over the putative restructuring of industrial relations. At that level of analysis, the activities and influence of the state in the attempt to move the goalposts are reasonably self-evident. For instance, Shields (in this collection) describes the egregious changes that the government of British Columbia, flushed with the dogma of neo-conservatism, introduced in the early 1980s to change its Labour Code. But the establishment and maintenance of hegemony – and, surely,...

  7. CHAPTER V Authoritarianism Without Hegemony? The Politics of Industrial Relations in Britain
    (pp. 118-148)
    Stephen McBride

    In the immediate aftermath of Mrs. Thatcher’s departure from 10 Downing Street it is appropriate, if slightly premature, to begin assessing the long-term impact of this most controversial of British Prime Ministers. In particular it is appropriate to consider the extent to which Thatcherism will survive its founder.

    This chapter focuses on one aspect of this broad question: the impact of Thatcherism upon British trade unions and, more generally, industrial relations. It considers, in particular whether the defeats inflicted upon British trade unionism in the last decade are likely to permanently reduce the economic and political influence of the organised...

  8. CHAPTER VI The State in the Reagan Era: Capital, Labour and More?[1]
    (pp. 149-171)
    Banu Helvacioglu

    The 1980s will be remembered as the era of neo-conservatism in the United States. Reaganite policies in the economic, political and social realms sought to establish an alternative hegemonic project opposing the liberal legacies of the 1960s: expanded welfare, the politicisation of race and gender issues around the civil rights and women’s movements, and the gains of organised labour. While the “Reagan revolution” fell short of fully achieving its objectives, even before its term came to an end in the fall of 1988, the Bush administration has unquestionably inherited the platform of Reaganite conservatism in its continued attacks on labour...

  9. CHAPTER VII Swedish Social Democracy and Beyond: Internal Obstacles to Economic Democracy
    (pp. 172-197)
    Gregg M. Olsen

    The onslaught of neo-conservatism, which characterised the 1970s and 1980s and made considerable headway in countries such as the United States, Britain and Canada, has been much less successful in supplanting the Keynesian and welfarist tendencies which had taken firm root in Sweden. However, while it remains hegemonic, Swedish social democracy has not gone unchallenged. Indeed, over the past two decades both labour and capital have expressed their dissatisfaction with the so-called “Swedish model”.

    Swedish capital, under the leadership of the domestic or home-market faction, reached an “historical compromise” with labour in the 1930s. Through this and later compromises, labour’s...

  10. CHAPTER VIII The State and Industrial Relations in a Neo-Conservative Era: A Thematic Commentary
    (pp. 198-221)
    Jerry White

    The Canadian labour movement is facing serious challenges, both on a general political level and on the shop floor. The move to privatise, deregulate and create competitive advantage will – in the context of a fiscal crisis, recession and free trade – encourage growing controls on labour.

    Many unionists and academics have grown up under the postwar regime. This regime is built on the Fordist and post-Fordist accords which are accepted by wide sections of the population. They are glued together with the ideology of Keynesianism and protected by the legalist binders of the compromise. Briefly, we can say that the accord...

    (pp. 222-224)

    This chapter provides essential background for the more detailed studies which follow. It discusses the transition from the Keynesian era to one in which neo-conservative political forces and economic doctrines assumed much greater importance. The implications of the transition to neo-conservatism for trade unions and industrial relations are outlined. The important concept of hegemony and the debate about whether neo-conservatism has become hegemonic are introduced. Each of the individual studies which follow is then located within this theoretical context.

    Changes in the industrial relations scene in Canada are assessed in light of theoretical disputes about their scope and significance for...

  12. Abrégés
    (pp. 225-227)

    Ce chapitre fournit l’arrière-plan indispensable pour l’étude plus détaillée qui suit. Le chapitre discute la transition de l’ère keynesi-enne à une ère dans laquelle les forces politiques et les doctrines économiques néo-conservatrices ont pris une plus grande importance. Les implications de la transition au néo-conservatisme pourles syndicats ouvriers et les relations industrielles sont esquissées.Le concept important de l’hégémonie, et le débat discutant si le néo-conservatisme est devenu hégémonique, est élaboré. Chacune des études individuelles qui suit est située dans ce contexte historique.

    Les changements sur la scène des relations industrielles au Canada sont évalués dans l’optique des disputes théoriques sur...

    (pp. 228-229)
    (pp. 230-259)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 260-265)