Is the principle that government and legal intervention in employment relations should be kept to a minimum, allowing employers and trade unions maximum scope to regulate their own affairs. Voluntarism characterized the UK system of industrial relations for much of the twentieth century with employment law being confined to issues or groups of workers who were not easily covered by free collective bargaining. It was a tradition that was supported on the union side by an abiding suspicion of the judiciary and its anti-union animus; unions were concerned that legal intervention would provide greater opportunity for judges to make anti-union judgments. In recent decades, the tide has turned against voluntarism and governments have become increasingly interventionist with regard to employment relations. The volume of employment law has risen, in large part through membership of the European Union, and union decline has led to calls for increased legal regulation of the labour market to compensate for declining joint regulation. [See auxiliary law.]
Subjects: Human Resource Management.