New Labour's distinctive variant of the restructuring of UK public service employee relations is worthy of serious reappraisal. Two volumes on this subject have now appeared virtually simultaneously, and from the same publisher. Each is a valedictory examination of the nature and tenacity of changes wrought on the public sector by the 1997–2010 Labour governments, with the embryonic changes being introduced by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition since 2010 affording opportunities for counterpoint and reflection. Extrapolating the implications of Coalition policy is necessarily tentative, with Corby and Symon's text incorporating developments to the end of 2010 and Bach and Kessler to spring 2011. However, the two books are really trying to fulfil rather different functions, so superficial similarities would prove deceptive. Corby and Symon is closer to a 'traditional' analysis of key employee relations developments and themes in the New Labour era. Bach and Kessler use Labour's reform of the state sector as an illustrative backdrop to integrate theory on the relationships between employee relations, broadly defined, and public service change.