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Trade unions, equal pay and the law in the UK

Conley, Hazel

Authors

Hazel Conley Hazel.Conley@uwe.ac.uk
Professor in Human Resource Management



Abstract

Trade unions in the UK have traditionally followed a voluntarist strategy that has preferred collective bargaining and avoided the use of the law wherever possible. The exception to this has been in relation to the pursuit of equal pay between women and men. This article examines this apparent contradiction by examining the ways in which British trade unions have used the equality legislation in the past to secure equal pay through the courts. The article further considers recent legislative changes that, by adopting a reflexive approach, appeared to open up ways for equality bargaining to take place. Unfortunately the conclusion is not a positive one as political conservatism in relation to equality and judicial animosity towards trade unions have secured the status quo, ironically forcing trade unions to continue to use adversarial legal methods to pursue equal pay. © The Author(s) 2013.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2014
Journal Economic and Industrial Democracy
Print ISSN 0143-831X
Electronic ISSN 1461-7099
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 35
Issue 2
Pages 309-323
APA6 Citation Conley, H. (2014). Trade unions, equal pay and the law in the UK. Economic and Industrial Democracy, 35(2), 309-323. https://doi.org/10.1177/0143831X13480410
DOI https://doi.org/10.1177/0143831X13480410
Keywords trade unions, equal pay, UK law
Publisher URL http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0143831X13480410

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