Gall, G (2012) Industrial conflict in the engineering construction industry in Britain. Construction Management and Economics, 30(7), 535-44.
This paper is available for free download until 31 December 2012.
Abstract: The militant and unofficial grassroots-led engineering construction strikes of 2009 starkly indicated that the industrial relations of the engineering construction industry in Britain can be characterized and termed as old-fashioned, adversarial and robust. This article takes these strikes as its point of departure to provide an overview of the nature and contours of the contemporary industrial relations of the engineering construction industry (ECI). This demonstrates that not only is this characterization broadly correct but it is surprising in as much as it forms a break with the previous decades of industrial relations in the ECI. The article provides a synopsis of the strikes in 2009 and a contextualized analysis of the social dynamics underpinning them. This is followed by an examination of the nature of the labour market, cycles of engineering construction activity, and processes of industrial relations in the ECI, where the 2009 strikes are used as a prism by which to view them. Thereafter, the issue of assessing the nature and extent of industrial conflict is returned to.