It is evident from the literature that there has been a sharp decrease in the use of collective bargaining between trade unions and management in deciding employment agreements for employees (Milner, 1995; Poole & Mansfield, 1993). Many authors argue that a shift towards the individualization of employment relations is replacing the traditional collectivist approach, with the individual negotiation of personalized employment agreements becoming increasingly more favored over the collective negotiation between trade unions and management (Milner, 1995; Welch & Leighton, 1996). Indeed, as Brown, Deakin, Nash, and Oxenbridge (2000) describe: This reduction in the procedural role of trade unions in determining the content of employment contracts has been called ‘individualization’ in the industrial relations literature.
This entails a substantial shift in the field of industrial relations, as collective bargaining has been the principle means of governing the employment contract for most of the twentieth century (Brown et al., 2000). This discussion entails the shift towards individualization in the employment relationship, the causes for this shift, and the implications of this shift on all parties in Britain.
Within this essay, individualism and collectivism mainly revolve around the employment agreement, which is described by Welch and Leighton (1996) as being the main legal mechanism for establishing the rules of work for the employer and individual employees. Brown et al. (2000) define the employment contract as being the outcome of a transaction that encompasses both the entitlements and the obligations of the employee. These entitlements encompass commonly associated factors such as pay and fringe benefits, however, what is commonly forgotten is that contracts also regulate the obligations placed on employees such as workloads and job descriptions (Brown et al., 2000). These are elements that can be either negotiated collectively or...