Working Life Industrial Relations Prepared by Gillian Feighery, SHS, Tullamore Co. Offaly
Industrial Relations • Is the relationship which exists between employers and employees. • It is most important that this relationship is good.
Good Industrial Relations Lead To: • Discussions taking place on an ongoing basis • Disputes over wages, working conditions and promotion can be settled without a strike
Poor Industrial Relations • Disputes and strikes • Loss of pay for employees • Loss of profits for employers • Unhappy workers looking for new jobs
Trade Unions • An organisation formed by workers to protect the interests of their members.
Functions of a Trade Union • Protect the rights of their members • Negotiate wages and salaries • Negotiate work conditions • Represent members at National Pay Agreements
Benefits of joining a Trade union • Higher standard of living for members- better wages and conditions • Greater job security if union is powerful • Increased bargaining power, one voice for all worker • Protection against discrimination or unfair dismissal
Types of Trade Unions • Industrial Unions: members work in the same industry eg banking (IBOA) or nursing,(INO Irish Nurses Organisation) • Craft Unions: members belong to a particular trade and have served an apprenticeship eg Brick and Stonelayers Trade union
Types of Trade Unions • White Collar Unions: members are usually professional eg teachers unions ASTI, TUI, INTO • General Unions: members come from a variety of occupations eg SIPTU (Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union)
Shop Steward Is the local union representative and is elected by members for a term of 1 to 5 years Main Duties • Recruit new members • Act as a link between members and union headquarters • Negotiate with an employer on behalf of members
Irish Congress of Trade Unions(ICTU) Voluntary body made up of members for all trade unions • It provides one voice for all member unions • Nominates people to the Labour Court and the Labour Relations Commission • Consulted by the government on all matters of national interest egemployment, social welfare, taxation, wages
Irish Business & Employers Confederation (IBEC) • Represents all employers in negotiations with trade unions and the government • It gives a voice to members on all aspects of industrial relations.
Industrial Relations Disputes PAY • EXTRA PAY FOR WORK DONE WORKING CONDITIONS • SAFER WORK AREAS • e.g. CLASS SIZES, HOLIDAYS….
DISMISSAL OF WORKERS • ENSURING THAT EMPLOYEES ARE FAIRLY DISMISSED REDUNDANCY • WHAT EMPLOYEES ARE LAID OFF FIRST- LAST IN FIRST OUT (LIFO) DEMARCATION • ONLY DOING THE WORK ONE IS EMPLOYED AND QUALIFIED TO DO
INDUSTRIAL ACTION BY UNIONS • 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 • Overtime ban: where employees refuse to do any overtime required by their employer • 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
How to Resolve an Industrial Dispute • Workers and the supervisor discuss the problem. • The shop steward and HRM discuss the problem. • A top union official and management discuss the problem.
4. Conciliation: A 3rd party eg Labour Relations Commission, brings both parties together. 5. Arbitration A 3rd party such as the Labour Court is asked to make a decision, which the disputing parties must agree to.
Functions of Labour Relations Commission • Conciliation Service: parties are brought together, and are encouraged to come up with a settlement themselves. • Advisory Service: LRC offers advice to employers and employees on Industrial relations matters
It appoints Rights Commissioners. Investigates disputes concerning individual workers or small group of workers • It appoints equality officers. Investigates disputes on issues of equality and discrimination in the workplace.
Labour Court: Functions • Is a court of last resort and final appeal • Investigates disputes that cannot be settled • Registers employment agreements
Conciliation • A 3rd party/ LRC or mediator brings both sides of a dispute together and helps them find a resolution • The proposal of the conciliator is not binding in industrial relations
Arbitration • Both parties to a dispute agree in advance to the decision of a 3rd party. • e.g. Labour court.
National Wage Agreement • Is a pay agreement between the social partners eg ICTU (workers), IBEC (employers) and the Government. • It is binding on all employers and employees in the country.
Local Wage Agreement When each employer negotiates with their own employees on pay and conditions.
Equal Opportunities Employer • It is illegal to discriminate on the grounds of marital status, gender, family status, religious belief, age, disability. Race, membership of traveller community, sexual orientation • There must be equal pay for men and women
Recap and Review • Industrial relations • Trade Unions and Shop Steward • ICTU • IBEC • Causes of Industrial Relations Disputes • Industrial Action • Resolving a Dispute • Equal Opportunities