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Dispute Resolution - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Dispute Resolution The role of the State Nature of conflict Player options 3 rd Party mechanisms Processes A “real” example STATE 3 rd party intervention TRADEEMPLOYER UNIONASSCIATION The Role of the State

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Dispute Resolution

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Dispute Resolution

  • The role of the State

  • Nature of conflict

  • Player options

  • 3rd Party mechanisms

  • Processes

  • A “real” example


3rd party intervention



The Role of the State

The state sets the framework within which industrial relations exist and it is the state alone which has the law-making powers which may substantially change the rules affecting the employment relationship.

(Crouch 1982)

The Role of the State

Depends on your perspective:


Different Roles

The State as Employer

The State as Provider of Dispute Resolution Mechanisms

The State as the State

The State

The Government

The Dáil

Civil Service


Garda Síochána

Defence Forces

The State as ‘The State’

  • Market Individualism(State supports the market)

  • Liberal Collectivism(principal of ‘voluntarism’ & ‘pluralism’ – State facilitates)

  • Corporatism(State has power, capitalist focus, unions coerced into compliance)

  • Bargained Corporation(‘Social partnership’)

Whatever else may have changed since the 1980’s, the defining characteristics of the employment relationship remain unaltered. Thus the basic conflicts of interest that exist between employer and employee have neither been eroded or eradicated.

(Blyton & Turnbull)

Two Recent Examples

  • Minister’s Tactics Could Spark ‘Major Dispute’ Warns Prison Union (IRN Jan 04)

  • Union Warns of Industrial Unrest Over Any Compulsory Transfers (IRN Dec 03)

Industrial Conflict

• Conflicts of interest inevitable

• Not necessarily dysfunctional

• Handling – crucial

• Power bases unequal

• Relative power fluctuates

Forms of Industrial Conflict




Employee Options

- Strikes- Sit-in

- Work-to-rule- Go-slow

- Sabotage- Output control

- Absenteeism- Turnover

- Pilferage

- Working without enthusiasm

Employer Options

  • Lockout

  • Work intensification

  • Discipline/sacking

  • Intimidation

  • Closure

Grievance Protocol

Stage 1:

You supervisor  manager

Stage 2

Shop steward

Stage 3

T.U. official & employer

Stage 4

Independent third party

Industrial Disputes 2002

Days Lost = 21,257 (lowest on record since 1923)

Number of disputes = 27

Number of firms = 43

Number of worker involved = 3553

Highest number days lost =

  • Manufacturing

  • Health & Social Work

Resolution of Industrial Disputes

First mechanisms in place with Industrial Relations Act, 1946.

Major overhaul with industrial Relations Act, 1990.

Provides structural devices for reconciling differences free of disruption.

Third Party Dispute Resolution

Level 1Level 2Level 3

Industrial Labour Circuit

Relations Relations Court

Officer Commission

Equality Labour High

Officer Court Court

Rights Employment Supreme

Commissioner Appeals Court



  • Conciliation

  • Adjudication

  • Arbitration

  • Formal Investigation

Industrial Relations Officers

..assist in the prevention and settlement of trade disputes…. through facilitating voluntary negotiations between employers & workers.



• Independent

• Voluntary & informal

• Operate under L.R.C.

Recommendations may be appealed to Labour Court.

Rights Commissioner

….reduce workload of the Labour Court by providing a prompt adjudication service for what may be regarded as less major Industrial Relations issues.


• Adjudication

• Independent

• Voluntary & informal

• Operates under L.R. Commission

Recommendations appealed to

Labour Court or Employment Appeals


Equality Officers

Revised role under the

1998 Employment Equality Act

...deal with discrimination on nine grounds.


• Formal Investigation

• Independent

• Voluntary’ish’ & Informal’ish

• Operate under the Director of Equality Investigations & based in the Equality Authority

Recommendations may be appealed to Labour Court.

Labour Court

Established under I.R. Act, 1946.

1990 Act – significantly altered role.

• Services free

• Independent

• Equal representatives of employers and workers

• Recommendations not (usually) binding

LC Mission

…to find a basis for real and substantial agreement through the provision of fast, informal and inexpensive arrangements for the adjudication and resolution of trade disputes.

LC Functions

-Investigate and make recommendations on cases referred.

- Registration of agreements (JLC’s & JIC’s)

- Appeals against Rights Commissioner or Equality Officer

LC Structure

Chairman(Kevin Duffy)

3 Deputy Chairmen

9 Ordinary Members

Administrative Staff

For efficiency – can operate in 3 divisions of Chairman (or deputy) + 2 Ordinary Members.

LC Process

Minimum formalities

  • Written submissions by both parties

  • Submissions read by spokesperson

  • Supplementary oral submissions

  • Questions from court

Labour Relations Commission

Established under 1990 Act to:

….encourage employers and trade unions to take a positive and constructive approach to Industrial Relations.

  • Proactive

  • Restore LC to ‘last resort’


- Took over may functions of Labour Court.

- Financed by department of E,T&E.

- Tripartite body with Trade Union, Employer and independent representatives.

Labour Relations Commission

The primary objective of the Commission is to assist parties or individuals in dispute to resolve their industrial disputes through the appropriate use of the relevant services of the Commission.

LRC Services

  • Conciliation Service (2002 settlement rate of 80%)

  • Advisory, Development & Research Service (ADRS)

    -Rights Commissioner Service

Conciliation Service

Assists employers, trade unions and employees to resolve IR disputes.

  • Responds to requests

  • Case assigned to IRO within 3 days

  • Over 80% of referrals settled

  • If they can’t resolve  Labour Court

Advisory, Development & Research Service (ADRS)

Works with employers & employees to build & maintain good relationships in the workplace.

  • Diagnostic Survey

  • Joint Working Party

  • Preventative Facilitation

  • Voluntary Dispute Resolution (non union)

Rights Commissioner Service

Investigate & recommend on disputes involving idustrial relations/employment rights legislation.

  • RC’s are independent of LRC

  • LRC provides admin back-up & facilitation

LRC Functions

  • Review & monitor developments

  • Prepare codes of practice (eg. Addressing Bullying in the Workplace)

  • Publish IR/HRM journal

  • Commission, publish & publicise research

  • Range of publications

  • Organise seminars, conferences etc.

LRC 2002

  • Conciliation – 1,693 referrals

  • Employment Rights – 5,695 hearings

  • Advisory, development & research

    - diagnostic audit (22)

    - JWP with frequent user (5)

    - preventative facilitation (16)


  • 40 civil servants

  • + 6 Rights Commissioners

  • Seven-member board (employers, TU’s and independents)

  • CEO – Kieran Mulvey

  • Annual Budget = €250million

Commission’s Core Values

  • Flexible & responsive to clients

  • Quick & full response

  • Transperent & accountable

  • Professional

  • Independent & impartial

  • Confidential

  • Positive environment for staff

LRC Advisory Service

The industrial relations situation at Limerick Corporation is “one of the worst” that the advisory service of the Labour Relations Commission has come across, according to a

diagnostic survey by the service.

(IRN December 1998)

Management Views

-Small number of “militant” shop stewards – abusing their position

-Some workers had other sources of income & not committed to the corporation

-Unofficial disputes – increased significantly

-Overly dependant on third parties to solve I.R. problems

-Lack of consistency in interpretation & implementation of policy.

Employee Views

-Workers badly advised or not advised/consulted by shop stewards

-Some shop stewards & workers wanted to cause trouble rather than do their work

-Some managers were aggressive in their dealings with workers

-No future in the corporation due to intention to privatise

-Supervisors were not allowed to manage by their superiors – a lot of responsibility with no authority.

Employment Appeals Tribunal

Established under Redundancy

Payments Act 1967 to:

….adjudicate in disputes regarding redundancy and to administer system of compensation.

EAT Process

... legalistic, individualistic, rights based, heavily reliant on common law notions of fair procedure and assessment of reasonableness.

• Claimant submits written case – represented by T.U./solicitor

• Give evidence, call witnesses, cross examine, final address

• Written recommendation issued

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