This paper examines the strategies and dilemmas faced by local employers and trade unions in Britain in responding to austerity measures. Drawing on two local authority case studies this paper extends strategic choice analysis highlighting the use of pro-austerity and anti-austerity frames by local actors to advance their strategies. We challenge the dominant interpretation of austerity as signalling the triumph of neo-liberalism in which there is no scope for the exercise of strategic choice with the assumption Conservative and Labour councils pursue similar policies of outsourcing and wage cuts. Our findings consider austerity as practice as well as ideology and indicate variable responses at local level by employers and trade unions. These differentiated outcomes underline the divergent policy responses to the economic crisis between and within countries.
- Austerity, Local Government, Employers, Outsourcing, Strategic Choice, Trade Unions