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Managing the UnionsThe Impact of Legislation on Trade Unions' Behaviour$

Roger Undy, Patricia Fosh, Huw Morris, Paul Smith, and Roderick Martin

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198289197

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198289197.001.0001

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(p.286) (p.287) Technical Appendix: Notes on the Rule-Book Surveys 1980, 1987, and 1992

(p.286) (p.287) Technical Appendix: Notes on the Rule-Book Surveys 1980, 1987, and 1992

Source:
Managing the Unions
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

In 1980 Undy and Martin (1984), and in 1987 and 1992 the present authors, surveyed the rule books of unions affiliated to the TUC. Over the period between these surveys there were significant changes in the number, government, and structure of TUC-affiliated unions. Thus, despite the conscientious efforts of those involved in the analysis, there are a number of differences between the surveys undertaken in 1980, 1987 and 1992. As a consequence, interpretation of the results of these surveys should take account of the following four factors: (1) changes in the units of analysis; (2) unions missed out from the surveys; (3) changes in the sample composition and characteristics; and (4) amendments to the construction of the coding schedule and associated conventions.

1. Changes in the units of analysis between 1980 and 1992

In the 1980 rule-book survey, constituent sections of federal unions were treated as separate entities and coded accordingly. In the 1987 and 1992 surveys the union as a whole has been treated as a single entity and national rules have been assumed to apply to all the unions’ constituent sections. This convention has been adopted because far fewer unions today than in 1980 maintain separate sections with any real degree of autonomy.

2. Unions missed out from the three surveys

In 1980, 1987, and 1992 requests for union rule books were sent to the general secretaries of all unions affiliated to the TUC: 114, 87, and 73 respectively. The unions which did not reply to this request were contacted again by letter or telephone. Finally, visits were made to the Certification Officer’s Records Department to gain access to the remaining missing rule books. Despite these efforts a number of unions were left out of the three surveys and those omitted were not always the same unions in each survey. The total number of rule books included in the surveys were as follows: 1980, 102; 1987, 84; and 1992, 69. Nevertheless these unions represented a significant proportion of the members of unions affiliated to the TUC (1980, 98.7%; 1987, 99.99%, and 1992, 99.99%). It is important to note that the 1992 survey omitted the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, which did not technically affiliate to the TUC until the middle of that year’s congress (i.e. September 1992). Similarly the EETPU (latterly the Electricians Section of the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union (AEEU)) was included although it did not formally vote to reaffiliate until May 1993.

(p.288) In the 1980 survey, the following eight unions and two constituent sections were missed out from the coding because their rule books could not be obtained.

Sections and members

AEU Construction Section, membership in 1980: 25,100

ASTMS Medical Practitioners Section, membership in 1980: 5,109

Unions

National Union of Lock and Metal Workers, membership in 1980: 6,843.

Spring Trapmakers’ Society, membership in 1980: 200.

Scottish Union of Power Loom Overlookers, membership in 1980: 90.

Yorkshire Association of Power Loom Overlookers, membership in 1980: 1,130.

Healders and Twister’s Trade and Friendly Society, membership in 1980: 174.

The National League of Blind and Disabled, membership in 1980: 4,250.

Film Artistes Association, membership in 1980: 2,581.

Society of Civil and Public Servants, membership in 1980: 108,697.1

In the 1987 survey, the following three unions were missed out from the coding because their rule books could not be obtained.

Military and Orchestral Musical Instrument Makers Trade Society, membership in 1987: 36.

Spring Trapmakers’ Society, membership in 1987: 90.

Scottish Union of Power Loom Overlookers, membership in 1987: 71.

Five TUC-affiliated unions were excluded from the 1992 survey. In the case of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy this was because the union was a recent affiliate to the TUC, joining in 1992. The Scottish Union of Power Loom Overlookers and the Military and Orchestral Musical Instrument Makers Trade Society were excluded because they had been excluded from the 1987 survey. The Society of Shuttlemakers was excluded because it had begun the procedure for disbanding the union, and the Sheffield Wool Shear Workers, with a membership of 16, were judged too small to include. It is important to note that the Yorkshire Association of Power Loom Overlookers is included in the survey although it is not formally listed as a TUC affiliate in 1992. Finally, the EETPU was included in the 1992 survey although it was not formally affiliated to the TUC when rule books were requested.

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, membership in 1992: 24,416.

Scottish Union of Power Loom Overlookers, membership in 1992: 60.

Sheffield Wool Shear Workers’ Union, membership in 1992: 16.

Society of Shuttlemakers, disbanded in January 1993, membership in 1992: 19.

Military and Orchestral Musical Instrument Makers Trade Society, membership in 1992: 44.

The rule books of the Spring Trapmakers Society and the Scottish Union of Power Loom Overlookers were excluded from both the 1980 and 1987 studies. Both of these unions no longer exist but remain registered as TUC affiliates for historical reasons.

(p.289) 3. Changes in the sample composition and membership characteristics

As previously stated, there were fewer unions in the 1992 survey than in the 1987 and 1980 equivalents. This change arose primarily as a result of amalgamation and transfers of engagements. Between 1980 and 1987 there was also one dissolution, one disaffiliation and one new affiliate to the TUC. Between 1987 and 1992, these figures were added to by a further dissolution, 2 disaffiliations and 2 new affiliates. See Annex 1 for a full list of the unions that have amalgamated, transferred engagements, dissolved, or disaffiliated from the TUC.

Amalgamations sometimes had an unanticipated effect upon unions’ balloting policies between 1980 and 1987. For example several unions, which previously used ballots to elect their officers and lay officials, transferred engagements to TASS during the period covered by our analysis. As TASS was the dominant union by size, some of these bodies adopted its branch block vote-based procedures for the election of national officers including the General Secretary. Similarly, other unions which have attempted to grow during the 1980s through mergers have adopted federal structures. This often means that the national officials are elected either by the method previously used by the larger partner, or that some compromise solution has been reached.

Table 1 summarizes the general decline in the membership of unions affiliated to the TUC.

Table 1. Total membership and index for unions affiliated to TUC unions (1980–92)

Year

Membership (000s)

Index (1980 = 100)

1980

12,173

100. 0

1981

11,601

95. 3

1982

11,006

90. 4

1983

10,510

86. 3

1984

10,082

82. 8

1985

9,855

80. 9

1986

9,586

78. 7

1987

9,243

75. 9

1988

8,797

72. 2

1989

8,652

71. 0

1990

8,417

69. 1

1991

8,193

67. 3

1992

7,786

63. 9

The general effects of these changes on the membership size categories used in the 1980, 1987, and 1992 surveys are set out in Table 2.

(p.290)

Table 2. Rule-book survey unions classified according to membership (1980, 1987, and 1992)

 

1980

 

1987

 

1992

 

 

n = 102

 

n = 84

 

n = 69

 

 

No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

Membership category

 

 

 

 

 

 

1–1,000

11

10. 8

10

11. 9

6

8.7

1,001–10,000

22

21. 6

18

21. 4

16

23. 2

10,001–50,000

31

30. 4

28

33. 3

22

31. 9

50,001–100,000

13

12. 7

8

9.5

6

8.7

100,001–500,000

20

19. 6

15

17. 9

13

18. 8

500,001 +

5

4.9

5

6.0

6

8.7

The number of unions in each of the membership categories declined between 1980 and 1992, with the exception of those unions with over 500,001 members. This change reflects the overall decline in trade union membership and also indicates a relatively even decline across each of the membership categories. Despite these general trends there were significant variations between unions, as Table 3 overleaf demonstrates.

4. Amendments to the construction of the coding schedule and associated conventions

The major problems encountered in undertaking the rule book analyses reflected the nature of the trade union rule books themselves. These instruments of union governance evolve, and reflect both the regularity with which unions alter their contents and the patience of the drafters. It should also be noted that union policy on balloting was the subject of considerable controversy in the mid-1980s. The decision to apply or not apply for Government refunds of balloting costs became the focal point of discussion about responses/resistance to Government trade union legislation. For this reason the rules governing elections and industrial action may have been designed to obscure as much as enlighten. Unions that complied may have wanted to appear not to comply and vice versa.

There are two differences between the surveys undertaken in 1980 and 1987. First, the 1980 survey made no distinction between appointment and election as methods of selecting lay and full-time officers. As a consequence the codings dealing with the post of General Secretary were recoded in 1987 with figures drawn from the original rule books.

Second, in 1980 reference-back and industrial action ballots were divided into two categories, ballots mandatory by rule and ballots discretionary by rule. Every attempt has been made to reconcile the two sets of data by recalculating the 1980 data to fit the 1987 categories. However, it would appear that the 1980 codings may have overstated the incidence of ballots. In the 1987 and 1992 coding a slightly less (p.291) optimistic convention has been adopted. For example, where a rule book makes no mention of ballots during collective bargaining but the executive reserves the right to initiate other unspecified actions in furtherance of the union’s stated aims, this has not necessarily meant that the union has been categorized as holding ballots at the executive’s discretion, although in reality this may be the case.

In the table below, changes in membership figures are calculated on the basis of TUC quoted figures in 1980 and 1987 plus the membership of any merger partner at the time of amalgamation/transfer of engagements minus the membership in 1987 or 1992, as appropriate. The figures do not take account of additional membership from mergers with unions who were not affiliated to the TUC. This is of little general significance, but may mean that the membership decline of some unions, such as the MSF and EETPU, is understated.

(p.292) (p.293) (p.294) (p.295)

Table 3. Changes in the membership figures of unions affiliated to the TUC (1980–7 and 1987–92)

 

 

1980–7

1987–92

 

Amalgamated Association of Beamers, Twisters and Drawers (Hand and Machine)*

595

Disaffiliated

1.

Amalgamated Engineering Union*

–441,665

–234,937

 

Amalgamated Union of Asphalt Workers *

1,018

Merged with TGWU 1987

2.

Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen

–6,032

–2,580

 

Association of Cinematograph, Television and Allied Technicians *

+5,445

Merged with BETA 1991

3.

Association of First Division Civil Servants

+188

+2,127

 

Association of Professional, Executive, Clerical and Computer Staff *

67,592

Merged with GMB 1989

 

Association of Scientific, Technical and Managerial Staffs *

106,109

Merged with TASS 1987

4.

Association of University Teachers

+814

+ 1,266

5.

Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union

–8,233

–1,670

6.

The Banking, Insurance and Finance Union

+26,972

+3,683

7.

British Actors’ Equity Association

+6,813

+9,878

8.

The British Airline Pilots Association

–712

+1,675

9.

The British Association of Colliery Management

–5,045

–5,461

10.

Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematography and Theatre Union*

+ 10,227

–24,452

11.

Card Setters and Machine Tenters’ Society

–28

–14

12.

The Ceramic and Allied Trade Union

–12,053

–4,541

13.

The Civil and Public Servants Association

–73,370

–26,491

 

Civil Service Union *

15,696

Merged with SCPS 1987

14.

Communications Managers’ Association

–15,696

–1,708

15.

Confederation of Health Service Employees

–618

–10,319

16.

Educational Institute of Scotland

–5,564

+4,254

17.

Electrical, Electronic, Telecommunications and Plumbing Union

–83,845

+20,845

18.

Engineering and Fastner Trade Union

–2,100

–160

19.

Engineering Managers’ Association

–7,618

–666

20.

Electrical and Plumbing Industries Union

(Affiliated in 1991)

 

21.

Film Artistes Association

–298

–346

22.

The Fire Brigades Union

+14,919

+6,962

23.

Furniture, Timber and Allied Trade Union*

–39,339

–12,417

24.

GMB*

–282,781

+48,701

25.

General Union of Associations of Loom Overlookers

–1,235

–645

 

Greater London Staff Association *

4,849

Merged with GMB 1988

26.

Graphical, Paper and Media Union* (formerly SOGAT and NGA)

 

–54,198

27.

The Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association

–1,382

–23

 

Health Visitors Association *

+4,320

Transferred to MSF 1990

28.

Inland Revenue Staff Federation

–9,959

+1,713

29.

Institution of Professionals, Managers and Specialists*

–25,379

+1,645

30.

The Iron and Steel Trades Confederation*

–50,234

–5,000

31.

Manufacturing Science and Finance* (formly TASS and ASTMS)

 

–27,000

32.

Musicians’ Union

–3,185

–1,386

33.

National and Local Government Officers’ Association*

–2,796

+9,305

34.

National Association of Colliery Overmen, Deputies and Shotfirers

–6,429

–6,967

35.

National Association of Cooperative Officials

–1,559

–176

36.

National Association of Licensed House Managers

–1,642

–4,177

37.

National Association of Probation Officers

(Affiliated 1984–5)

+677

38.

National Association of School Masters/Union of Women Teachers

+ 1,887

–2,803

39.

NATFHE—The University and College Lecturers Association

+ 11,556

–2,825

40.

National Communications Union

+29,920

–4,940

 

National Graphical Association *

10,875

Merged with SOGAT 1991

41.

The National League of the Blind and Disabled

–1,424

–316

42.

National Union of Civil and Public Servants

–35,655

–5,745

43.

National Union of Domestic

–2,400

–700

 

Appliances and General Operatives

 

 

 

National Union of Hosiery and Knitwear Workers *

21,511

Merged with NUFLAT 1991

44.

National Union of Insurance Workers

–1,773

–689

45.

National Union of Journalists

–1,271

–2,202

46.

National Union of Knitwear, Footwear and Apparel Trades*

–21,511

–69,448

47.

National Union of Lock and Metal Workers

–1,706

–471

48.

The National Union of Maritime, Aviation and Shipping Transport Officers*

–14,938

–5,283

49.

National Union of Mineworkers

–148,241

–60,589

50.

National Union of Public Employees

–34,137

–106,468

 

National Union of Railway men *

55,000

Merged with NUS 1990

51.

National Union of Rail, Maritime, and Transport Workers (formerly NUR and NUS)

 

–33,795

 

National Union of Seamen *

24/150

Merged with NUR 1990

52.

National Union of Scalemakers

940

247

 

National Union of Tailor and Garment Workers *

43,452

Transferred to GMB 1991

53.

National Union of Teachers

–64,441

–19,737

 

National Union of Footwear, Leather and Allied Trades *

27,944

Merged with NUHKW 1991

54.

Northern Carpet Trades’ Union

–1,235

–109

 

Pattern Weavers’ Society

40

Ceased affiliation 1989

55.

The Power Loom Carpet Weavers’ and Textile Workers’ Union

–2,823

–1,033

56.

Prison Officers’ Association

+3,388

+3,368

57.

The Rosendale Union of Boot, Shoe and Slipper Operatives

–1,755

–1,790

58.

Scottish Prison Officers’ Association

+543

+989

59.

The Society of Radiographers

(Affiliated in 1990)

 

Society of Civil and Public Servants *

19,959

Merged with CSU 1988

 

Society of Graphical and Allied Trades ’82 *

60,654

Merged with NGA 1991

60.

Society of Telecom Executives

+5,736

–3,276

 

TASS *

570,997

Merged with ASTMS 1987

 

Tobacco Mechanics Association *

245

Merged with MSF 1989

61.

Transport and General Workers’ Union*

–886,322

–252,525

62.

Transport and Salaried Staffs Association

–26,426

–5,442

63.

The Union of Communication Workers

–11,493

–5,110

64.

Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians

–98,292

–47,151

65.

Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers

–88,033

–40,635

66.

Union of Textile Workers

–2,943

–1,112

67.

United Road Transport Union

–5,850

–2,669

 

Wire Workers’ Union *

4,628

Transferred to ISTC 1991

68.

The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain

–82

+144

69.

Yorkshire Association of Power Loom Overlookers

–548

–63

(*) indicates the Union was involved in merger or transfer of engagements with other TUC unions between 1980 and 1992.

() indicates the union affiliated to the TUC after the first survey in 1980.

Notes:

(1) . The responses of the Society of Civil and Public Servants were hand-coded into the tables used in Undy and Martin (1984), but the codings were not included in the original data set.