Industrial Relations Chapter 26
Industrial Relations What does ‘Industrial Relations’ mean? • Industrial relations refers to the relationship which exists between employers and employees. • It is most important that this relationship is good.
Industrial Relations Good Industrial relations • Good Industrial Relations ensure that: • Discussions take place on a continuous basis • Disputes over wages, working conditions, etc can be settled quickly and without a strike taking place. • Workers are happier in their work and are more productive
Industrial Relations Bad Industrial Relations • Bad Industrial Relations lead to: • Disputes and strikes • Loss of pay for employees • Loss of profits for employers • Workers looking for new jobs • High levels of absenteeism and staff turnover
Industrial Relations What is a ‘Trade Union’? • Trade Unions are organisations formed by workers to protect the interests of their members.
Industrial Relations Trade Unions • Trade Unions help their members in the following ways: • They negotiate with employers for better wages, shorter working hours, longer holidays, safer working conditions, etc. • They protect members from unfair dismissal • They represent members in discussions with employer organisations and the government, on matters such as taxation, wages, etc.
Industrial Relations Trade Unions • There are 4 types of Trade Union • Craft Unions • White Collar Unions • Industrial Unions • General Unions
Industrial Relations Types of Trade Union • Craft Unions • Members belong to a particular trade and have served an apprenticeship eg.: Irish Actors’ Equity Union, Irish Master Butchers Federation • White Collar Unions • Members work in professional areas such as the civil service and teaching. eg.: ASTI Association of Secondary Teachers TUI Teachers’ Union of Ireland
Industrial Relations Types of Trade Union • Industrial Unions • Members work in the same industry regardless of the work they do in that industry. • It represents people working at different types of jobs in nursing, banking, etc. eg.: INO Irish Nurses Organisation, Prison Officers Association • General Unions • Members work in all types of industry such as manufacturing, cleaning, electricians, etc. eg.: Services Industrial Professional and Technical Union - SIPTU
Industrial Relations How is a Trade Union run? • Trade Union members elect certain people (shop steward, general secretary, president) and committees to run the union.
Industrial Relations What is a ‘Shop Steward’? • This is the local union representative and is elected by members for a term of one to three years. • The main duties of a shop steward include: • Recruiting new members • Acting a as a link between members and union HQ and passing on any information received from head office. • Negotiating with the employer on behalf of its members (employees)
Industrial Relations The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) • This is a voluntary body made up of member trade unions. • Most trade unions in Ireland are affiliated to the ICTU. • It provides one voice for all its members (unions) • It consults with the government and the government on all matters of national interest eg.: wages, tax, social welfare • Gives advice and training to trade unions • Nominates people to the Labour Court and Labour Relations Commission.
Industrial Relations • The other party in industrial relations is the employer. • Human resource (personnel) managers represent the employer in all discussions with workers/unions. • Many potential disputes are settled when shop stewards and personnel managers meet
Industrial Relations • At national level employers are represented by the Irish Business Employers Confederation (IBEC), the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME), Construction Industry Federation (CIF), etc. • Employers organisations: • Provide one voice for its members (employers) • Represent employers in discussions with the Government • Sometimes intervene if one of their members (an employer) is in dispute with a trade union • It gives advice to its members
Industrial Relations • What is Collective Bargaining? • This takes place between the Social Partners i.e. the Government, Trade Unions, Employers Organisations, etc • They decide on the increase in the level of wages in an economy over a period of time. • In return for keeping wages increases low, the government agrees to keep taxes low. • Collective bargaining leads to the National Wage Agreements • Theses agreements lead to • Better industrial relations (less strikes) • Lower costs, lower prices and increased sales and employment
Industrial Relations • The following are reasons for ‘Industrial Relations’ disputes: • Pay • Working Conditions • Unfair Dismissal • Redundancy • Demarcation • Discrimination
Industrial Relations Reasons for an Industrial Dispute • Pay • Workers might want higher wages. • Workers might want extra pay for extra work done eg.: teachers getting paid for supervision • Working Conditions • Fewer hours of work • Safer Work Areas eg.: Insisting on safety netting on scaffolding
Industrial Relations Reasons for an Industrial Dispute • Unfair Dismissal of Workers • Ensuring that employees are fairly dismissed • The Unfair Dismissals Act lays down what an unfair dismissal is, what is a fair dismissal is, the proper procedure for dismissing workers and the forms of redress workers are entitled to if they’re unfairly dismissed.
Industrial Relations Reasons for an Industrial Dispute • Redundancy • Employees are made redundant if there is no work available for them. • Conflict can arise over what employees are laid off first (Last In First Out [LIFO]) and the redundancy payment that they are entitled to. • Demarcation • This relates to doing the work one is employed and qualified to do eg.: an electrician doing the work of a plaster
Industrial Relations • Unions can take 4 different types of ‘Industrial Action’ to back their claims: • Work to rule • Go slow • Overtime ban • Sit in • Strike
Industrial Relations Industrial Action • Work to rule • Where employees will only do the exact work they were employed to do • Go slow • Where employees do their work but do so as slowly as possible
Industrial Relations Industrial Action • Overtime Ban • Where employees refuse to do any overtime required by their employer • Sit-in • This is when workers refuse to leave their place of work • Unions are rarely officially involved in a sit-in
Industrial Relations Industrial Action • Strike • Where workers stop working and place a picket on the employer. • If the strike is official it will have the backing of the union and the ICTU • What is a Picket? • This is when workers walk up and down outside their workplace carrying placards stating that a strike is taking place
Industrial Relations • All disputes should be resolved at the earliest possible stage to ensure that both the employee and employer do not loose out. • A Win-Win solution for both sides should be the aim. • If the written down procedures are followed then strikes should not take place.
Industrial Relations • The following are the 5 steps in the resolution of an industrial dispute: • Worker Supervisor • Shop Steward Manager • Union Official Head Office/employer • Conciliation • Arbitration
Industrial Relations Resolution of Industrial Relations Disputes • Worker – Supervisor • The worker should firstly discusses the problem with their supervisor. If there is no agreement then they go on to step 2 • Shop Steward – Manager • The shop steward will then discuss the dispute with the manager. If there is no agreement we go onto step 3 • Union Official – Employer • A Union Official from head office will discuss the problem with the employer (who informs IBEC). If there is no agreement then we go onto step 4
Industrial Relations Resolution of Industrial Relations Disputes • Conciliation • An acceptable person or organisation is asked to help both sides settle their dispute. • This is an 3rd party or middle man. • They encourage both sides to talk out their problems and help both sides reach a mutually acceptable, negotiated solution. • They may suggest a way of solving the conflict. • They cannot tell the parties involved what to do • If there is no agreement we move onto step 5.
Industrial Relations Resolution of Industrial Relations Disputes • Arbitration • An acceptable independent person or organisation is asked by both sides to examine the dispute and to make a decision which both sides gave agreed in advance to accept. • The decision is acted upon.
Industrial Relations Resolution of Industrial Relations Disputes The Labour Court • This is a court of last resort. • It is made up of a representative of employers, a representative of the unions and an independent chairperson. • The labour Court investigates a dispute. They make recommendations having listened to both sides. • These decisions are not legally binding but both sides are expected to consider them seriously. • Usually both sides agree in advance to accept the recommendations of the labour court. This is called binding arbitration