Individualizing employee relations: The myth of the personal contract

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Abstract:

Focuses on the introduction of personal contracts to replace terms and conditions of employment derived from collective agreements in light of the findings from three surveys of employer organizations conducted in 1991/92, 1994/95 and 1995/96 by the Employment Relations R&D Centre at Anglia Polytechnic University. Argues that personal contracts reflect employer power and preferences rather than providing a mechanism for the empowerment of the individual employee through creating or increasing the ability of the individual to determine their terms and conditions of employment. Discusses the political and legal background to the decline in trade union power at the workplace. Contends that a real empowerment of employees is best achieved within a collectivist framework and is thus dependent on the re-establishment and strengthening of individual and collective rights at work.

Keywords: Collective bargaining; Employee relations; Employment contracts; Industrial relations

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/00483489610130922

Publication date: October 1, 1996

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