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The de-unionization of the British media was the process by which, as part of a general trend across all industry, the power of trade unions was challenged and largely removed by employers. Most key disputes occurred in the 1980s when the Conservative Governments led by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher gave legislative and other encouragement to employers to renounce ‘collective bargaining’ agreements with their workforces over manning levels, working conditions and wages. Media employers could then take full advantage of the flexibility and cost-saving potential of new technology, including computerization. In the television sector, the weakening of production unions – whose restrictive practices had been a particular bugbear for Mrs Thatcher (Thatcher, 1995: 634) – helped make news-gathering cheaper and more flexible. Market-friendly regulation policies, including ...

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