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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 membersbetter 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

1. 2. 3.

Irish Congress of Trade Unions(ICTU)


Voluntary body made up of members for all trade unions 1. It provides one voice for all member unions 2. Nominates people to the Labour Court and the Labour Relations Commission 3. Consulted by the government on all matters of national interest eg employment, 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 FIRSTLAST 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


1. Workers and the supervisor discuss

the problem. 2. The shop steward and HRM discuss the problem. 3. 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