Managing Employee Relations

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					Managing Employee Relations


          Lecture 7

  The Role of Government
               Introduction
   The government may be defined as the politically
    based body which directs and controls the institutions
    within an organised societyand whose policies and
    actions are, in the UK and other democracies,
    legitimised through the electoral process.
   Poole (1985) states that the state is indisputably the
    “third force” in the employee relations system, indeed
    the experience in the UK, and other countries, during
    the 1980‟s and 1990‟s, might suggest that the
    government has become the primary force in
    determining the nature of employee relations.
 Key role in determining
employee relations system
   Government is, by virtue of its law-making role. „the
    only actor in the situation which can change the rules
    of the system.
   Government strategies and policies exert a major
    influence in determining the economic and social
    contexts which other parties (management,
    employees and unions) conduct their relationship.
   Government has responsibility (directly or indirectly)
    for guiding and influencing the activities of a varying
    combination of other institutions within society- such
    as „public services‟ (like education & health) and
    public enterprises, energy, transport and
Objectives of government
   Largely economic policy, also fundamental social
    objectives
   National interest
   Sectional interest
   Maintenance of capitalist interest
   Apparent policy if non-intervention
   Liberalism and corporatism (see Crouch)
   Historical phases
Government intervention and
        strategies
    Market regulator
    Dealing with unemployment
    Managing levels of income
    Incomes policies
    Minimum level of wages/ wage councils
    Dealing with the problems of low pay
    Voluntary collective bargaining
    The creation of the national minimum wage
    The state as an employer
   5.1 million people in the UK (20 percent of the total
    national workforce are employed in the public sector)
   Throughout the 1980‟s the conservative government
    followed a process of privitisation incorporating 30
    different programmes including whole service
    industries (water gas,telecommunications, electricity)
    major operations in the production & manufacturing
    sectors (BA, Rolls Royce, British Steel, Rover Cars
   In Northern Ireland the public sector is of vital
    importance represents the most important section of
    the labour market.
Elements Underpinning Employee
  Relations in the Public Sector
   The government accepted and even encouraged,
    unionisation and the establishment of formal
    collective bargaining machinery,
   Collective bargaining, particularly within central
    government and local authorities relied on
    „comparisons‟ with the private sector for determining
    appropriate pay levels rather than the governments
    „ability to pay; or „productivity‟
   „Independent‟ pay review bodies
     The State as Legislator
   Legislation of individual legal right
   Employment tridunals
   The concilitatary role of ACAS/LRA
   The European Union, issues of social policy regulation
   European social charter
   European court of human rights
   Summary and case studyexamples