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Life on the Line in Contemporary ManufacturingThe Workplace Experience of Lean Production and the `Japanese' Model$
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Rick Delbridge

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198292333

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198292333.001.0001

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The Role of Organized Labour

The Role of Organized Labour

Chapter:
(p.150) 8 The Role of Organized Labour
Source:
Life on the Line in Contemporary Manufacturing
Author(s):

Rick Delbridge

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198292333.003.0008

This chapter addresses the role of trade unions at the two plants. The Japanese model and lean production have been used to argue that employees no longer need the protection of trade unions from their employer, since a new unitarism will characterize contemporary workplace relations. The industrial relations between the two plants are very different, with Valleyco having multi-union collective bargaining and Nippon CTV a single union no-strike agreement, a company advisory board, and no collective bargaining. However this chapter shows that there is considerable similarity between the two plants in that workers are still persuaded of their need for strong and effective impact on management decision making and on the running of the plants. The findings presented in this book also question the relevance of unitarist managerialist notions of HRM since the workers at these two plants remain sceptical of management's intentions and clearly favour an oppositional stance from their own representatives. The chapter therefore reflects on the implications of this for trade unions.

Keywords:   trade unions, Japanese model, lean production, unitarism, Valleyco, Nippon CTV, collective bargaining, unitarist managerialism, human resources management

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