LABOR: No More Mr. Nice Guy

No More Mr. Nice Guy

For many Britons it was like turning back the clock. After behaving meekly for years, British trade unions last week were suddenly flexing their muscles again. Ferry workers, autoworkers, schoolteachers, firemen and nurses all were in the streets. Among the hardest-hit targets was the British subsidiary of Ford of Europe. Nearly all the firm's 32,500 workers at 22 auto plants walked off the job after rejecting a three-year contract that would have provided modest pay increases.

Many economic analysts think the new union upsurge is a product of Britain's current prosperity. Since 1980 the British gross domestic product has risen by...

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