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A system of co-operation in economic and industrial policy making between government and the peak organisations representing both sides of industry: the TUC and the CBI. A number of bodies established mainly in the 1960s and 1970s have been seen as embodiments of tripartism. Most important among them has been the National Economic Development Council (NEDC) set up in 1962 and composed of senior ministers, employer representatives and TUC nominees, with similar structures at industry and sector level. At various times one of the three groups has weakened its attachment to tripartism and relations with government often have been more bipartite in nature, in part reflecting the absence of any underlying consensus upon long term goals. There is a further problem in that the TUC and CBI are unable to exercise the degree of control over their constituents which is sometimes seen as necessary for the efficient functioning of a tripartite system, or for corporatism . In the 1970s bipartite arrangements between the Labour government and the TUC took prominence. Since 1979 Conservative Governments have limited the opportunity for the TUC to play any part in state policy making. Consequently the government's commitment to, and the importance of, bodies such as NEDC have been considerably reduced.

Please note: the European industrial relations glossaries were compiled between 1991 and 2003 and are not updated. For current material see the European industrial relations dictionary.

Page last updated: 14 August, 2009