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If sufficient evidence on both counts could be mustered, then McCarthy's analysis would remain valid. The dynamics of closed-shop The Closed Shop: Theoretical Framework 43 growth would remain the same: a union perception of the advantages of the practice; an employer perception of its disadvantages; and a trial of strength to determine who prevails. In support of the first, it might be argued that the'relative deterioration of the British economy after the mid-1960s has influenced the industrial-relations system to a critical degree.

A further group of employees often covered by formal agreements that extend across plant boundaries are lorry drivers, but unlike white-collar workers their arrangements frequently developed out of informal practices that drivers had developed on a multi-location basis by virtue of their mobility. Apart from decentralized bargaining units an important factor in the local nature of closed-shop arrangements is a consideration on the part of management and unions that the practice is a matter best handled at local level where particular obstacles can be adequately dealt with, whether they relate to individuals or inter-union relationships.

We begin by constructing from published material and inductive reasoning two discrete, although not mutually exclusive, theories. These are tested against data derived from our field survey in Chapter 5. The first, which we call the 'hard theory', states that the post-entry closed shop spread because trade unions, employers or both identified it as having a significant impact upon industrial relations from which they were likely to gain substantial advantages. The second, which we call the 'soft theory', states that in contrast the post-entry closed shop spread almost as a side-effect of other industrial-relations developments which reduced its significance and therefore its contentiousness as an issue between unions and employers.

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