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Under-funded and overwhelmed: the voluntary sector as worker representation in Britain's individualised industrial relations system


  • The authors are all at the University of the West of England. Stephanie Tailby is Professor of Employment Relations, Anna Pollert is Professor of the Sociology of Work, Stella Warren is Research Associate, Andy Danford is Professor of Employment Relations and Dr Nick Wilton is Senior Lecturer in HRM.

Stephanie Tailby, University of the West of England, Bristol BS16 1QY; email:


The majority of British workers are non-unionised. They face grievances at work alone. For the low paid among them, the main source of advice and support is the voluntary sector, in particular the Citizens Advice Bureaux and Law Centres. This article presents findings from a survey of front-line employment advisers in Citizens Advice Bureaux and Law Centres that show how under-funding by government at a time of rising demand from workers has affected the service they are able to provide and the quality of their own working life.

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