If British industrial relations policies in the 1970s moved in a Scandinavian direction — a deep involvement of organised labour and employers in economic management, a tripartite active labour market policy — during the 1980s they became like those of early Fifth Republic France. Reflecting a general political division in which political groups and individuals were either part of a majorité (insiders, trusted, able to participate in public life) or relegated to a minorité (excluded, unconsulted, marginalised), organised labour was pushed to or beyond the boundaries of political respectability. And for much of the time trade unions responded to this by retreating into an outsider’s protest role.
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