Beyond Neo-Liberalism: The Trade Union Act 2016 and the Authoritarian State

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The Trade Union Act 2016 marks a historically significant realignment in the ideological politics of trade union regulation. It represents a more authoritarian style of Conservative ideology and statecraft in the sphere of trade union regulation, and this is reflected in three main characteristics: (i) a repressive strategy of de-democratisation, undermining political resistance and stifling dissent in the democratic process; (ii) heavier reliance on direct State coercion, including the techniques of criminalisation, alongside the empowerment of employers to use civil law remedies against trade unions and workers in industrial action situations; (iii) the elevation of social order in the regulation of strike activity. The article then considers the likely prospects of the legislation, and the wider ideological significance of this turn towards authoritarianism for Conservative political thought ‘beyond neo-liberalism’.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberdww023
Pages (from-to)299-336
Number of pages38
JournalIndustrial Law Journal
Issue number3
Early online date6 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016


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