It is fashionable to speak of trade unions in the UK as organizations in decline. However, it is their organization and, in particular, their financial status, that ultimately dictates unions' ability to survive, recruit and influence employers. This book provides the first systematic picture of union financial status for thirty years, and reveals a dramatic picture. Though, overall, unions have become financially less healthy in the postwar period, many unions experienced an improved financial position during the membership contraction of the Thatcher years. The authors also show that the long term financial decline of unions has been affected more by competition among unions for membership, than by the effects of traumatic industrial disputes.
Review of the hardback: ' ... fascinating analysis of trade union finances during the Thatcher years ... The book provides a wealth of topical data on union finances with chapters on more interesting cases such as the Mineworkers, the Engineers and the Electricians. But its more general interest lies in its focus on an important and neglected issue: the reliance of trade unions for their very survival on the goodwill of employers.' Robert Taylor, Independent