Strong unions and job security

A new article sheds light on how unions affect job security guarantees - where the employer promises not to resort to compulsory redundancy.

The research finds that employees' chance of getting such a guarantee is increased when unions at the workplace have a high membership, or when several unions each specialise in representing particular types of workers (multi-unionism). Job security guarantees appear to have been very effective, with very few managements reneging on their promise of avoiding compulsory redundancy.

Less reassuringly, though, strong unions in private-sector workplaces also make it more likely that within-workplace job cuts take place,with management using other means than compulsory redundancy.

In the public sector, strong unions raise the chance of job-security guarantees but do not increase the risk of job cuts. The findings can be explained in terms of union bargaining power and in terms of the '˜voice services' that unions provide in communications between employer and employees.

The article, entitled 'Job Cuts, Job Guarantees, and Unions' is co-authored by Michael White (Policy Studies Institute) and Alex Bryson (National Institute for Economic and Social Research). It is to be published in the journal The Manchester School during 2012, and is currently live at the Wiley OnLine Library.

Read the article.