Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Irish Trade Unions and Social Partnership, 1987-2009 : the subtle subjugation of organised labour
Author: Patton, Patrick
ISNI:       0000 0004 6494 3817
Awarding Body: Ulster University
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2017
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Social partnership dominated industrial relations in Ireland for twenty-two years, 1987- 2009. The degree to which it influenced the nation’s rapid economic recovery in the 1990s is a matter of much debate, but there can be little doubt that it contributed to a prolonged period of industrial peace. This thesis addresses the experience of the trade union movement with social partnership between 1987 and 2000, a period which saw the Irish economy progress from a state of near collapse, in 1987, to the dizzying heights of the Celtic Tiger era, a mere decade later. The 1CTU entered into partnership with government, employers and farmers with clear goals in mind and with a view to having significant influence over socio-economic policy formation at national level. Initially motivated by a desire to play their part in driving an economic recovery in the late 1980s, trade unions in Ireland continued their engagement with partnership long after that recovery had been achieved. Throughout this period the ICTU traded industrial peace for guaranteed wage increases, but it was not until the mid- 1990s that a reduction in unemployment levels was finally realised. As a consequence, Congress was dogged by accusations that it had adopted a business led agenda to the detriment of organised labour. This, an accusation that persisted over the twenty-two years of social partnership, was not entirely unjustified, as senior trade unionists in 1987 accepted the need for business profits to rise in advance of any improvements in overall employment statistics. However, engagement with social partnership came at a price. Not alone were unions beholden to a ‘no-strike’ clause as part of each agreement, issues such as mandatory union recognition, enterprise level partnership and profit sharing, to name but a few, posed considerable difficulties for organised labour and by 2009, and the collapse of partnership, these key union objectives had not been achieved. This research, therefore, analyses the impact social partnership had on trade unions in Ireland between 1987 and 2000. Trade union engagement with partnership in Ireland is compared with that of organised labour in the United Kingdom and Austria, while apparent union weakness in the face of collapse of social partnership in 2009 is also addressed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available