The influence of 'soft' Fair Work regulation on union recovery: a case of re-recognition in the Scottish voluntary social care sector

Ian Cunningham, Philip James, Alina Baluch

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Abstract

This longitudinal case study contributes to debates concerning how 'soft' and 'hard' forms of regulation can interact to contribute to the advancement of worker rights. More specifically, the article explores the contribution of Scotland’s 'soft' fair work (FW) programme and the UK's 'hard' statutory recognition procedure to union re-recognition in a voluntary sector social care provider. In combination, 'hard' and 'soft' regulation are found to have added breadth to the pressures for re-recognition exerted by the union, bringing reputational and financial costs associated with derecognition to the employer. Concerns nevertheless arose regarding the depth of impact from this interaction due to union compromises on key issues in the final recognition agreement. Due to the specific public service context of the study, doubts are also expressed regarding the potential for unions in other hard to organise sectors to achieve similar outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-277
Number of pages17
JournalIndustrial Relations Journal
Volume53
Issue number3
Early online date23 Apr 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2022

Keywords

  • re-recognition
  • union recovery
  • soft regulation
  • Fair Work
  • voluntary sector

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