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At the outset of the Thatcher/Reagan era, the employment and labor law systems across six Anglo- American countries could be divided into three pairings: the Wagner Act model of the United States and Canada; the Voluntarist system of collective bargaining and strong unions in the United Kingdom and Ireland; and the highly centralized, legalistic Award systems of Australia and New Zealand. The authors argue that there has been growing convergence in two major areas: First, of labor law toward a private ordering of employment relations in which terms and conditions of work and employment are primarily determined at the level of the enterprise; and second, of individual employment rights, toward a basket of minimum standards that can then be improved upon by the parties. The greatest similarity is found in Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia. Ireland retains a greater degree of public ordering, while the United States diverges in favoring the interests of employers over those of employees and organized labor. The authors explore reasons for the convergence.


Suggested Citation
Colvin, A. J. S. & Darbishire, O. (2013). Convergence in industrial relations institutions: The emerging Anglo-American model? [Electronic version]. Industrial & Labor Relations Review, 66(5), 1047-1077.

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