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Title: UK pension reform and the trade union movement : a neoliberal dilemma
Author: Grady, Jo
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis offers forward a new analysis of the UK pension crisis. It argues that the crisis is an artificial one, manufactured by an economic elite, in order to justify reform of pensions (and welfare more broadly) along neoliberal lines. This neoliberal construct of the crisis is supported by three discourses, that of ageing population, responsibility and affordability. These neoliberal discourses conceal the fact that the pension crisis is not only an artificial crisis, but indeed is a consequence of the implementation by government, in the past thirty years, of economic and welfare reforms, based upon neoliberal ideology. Exposing the rhetoric used by elites demonstrates that the proposed (neoliberal) solutions will only worsen the crisis. Neoliberal economic policies are justified through recourse to a neoliberal discourse that excludes discussion of the real causes of the crisis, and therefore allows only neoliberal solutions to appear workable. Placing the crisis in historical perspective it will be seen that the shift of responsibility for ensuring a living pens ion from government and the employer to the individual is part of a wider neoliberal project. David Harvey (2005) argues that neoliberalism is best understood as the re-assertion of ruling class power, and it is in this spirit that this thesis utilises the concept. This thesis will argue that trade unions have demurred from challenging the neoliberal construct of the crisis in the current period and that their silence on key pension issues has created an ideological vacuum that has allowed neoliberalism to become not only the dominant discourse, but also indeed the discourse. As such unions must shoulder some responsibility for the current hegemony of neoliberal ideology on pension provision. Interviews were conducted with key trade unionists and their responses form part of the analysis offered forward in this thesis
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available