Trade unions for managers?

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In this paper analysis is made of an important development in British industrial relations; the extension of collective bargaining to include managerial level employees. The questions posed include those such as: Why are managers increasingly joining unions? What kind of union are they attracted to? How do managers behave as trade unionists and how do employers react to the development of managerial unionism on their virgin territory? In suggesting answers to such topical questions, it is argued that although some existing unions are becoming more ambitious in recruitment, managers themselves are now interested in organizing collectively to defend their employment status and declining pay differentials. It is noted that George Bain's explanation of white collar union growth is also applicable to the development of managerial unionization, and that managers' unionism is spreading from the public to the private sector, although managers may, however, have reservations about some manifestations of aggressive trade unionism. But, despite their prevailing attitudes, managers can be militant themselves and may offer a more profound challenge to employers' prerogatives than more traditional unions. It is concluded that employers may try to undermine incipient managers' unions but that in the long term these attempts are doomed to failure not least because they will be countered by public policy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-41
Number of pages6
JournalPersonnel Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1976
Externally publishedYes


  • trade unions
  • managers
  • personnel management

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