File Name: international and comparative employment relations .zip
There have been numerous accounts exploring the relationship between institutions and firm practices. Again, evaluations of the relationship between institutions and employment relations have tended to be of the broad-brushstroke nature, often founded on macro-data, and with only limited attention being accorded to internal diversity and details of actual practice.
- International Comparisons in the Study of Industrial Relations
- Comparative Industrial Relations
- [PDF] International and Comparative Employment Relations: National Regulation, Global Changes Free
Faculty in the Department of International and Comparative Labor ICL are concerned with understanding and comparing labor and employment systems and practices in other countries and regions of the world, and with analyzing the dynamics of globalization as they relate broadly to work and capital.
Literature Review 2. The unitary, pluralist and Marxist perspectives all give different descriptions of the relationship between employers and employees. This view of industrial relations is a by product of a theory of capitalist society and social change.
International Comparisons in the Study of Industrial Relations
The term labour relations, also known as industrial relations, refers to the system in which employers, workers and their representatives and, directly or indirectly, the government interact to set the ground rules for the governance of work relationships. It also describes a field of study dedicated to examining such relationships. The field is an outgrowth of the industrial revolution, whose excesses led to the emergence of trade unions to represent workers and to the development of collective labour relations.
There is considerable variation in the use of the terms, partly reflecting the evolving nature of the field over time and place. The wide variety of labour relations systems throughout the world has meant that comparative studies and identification of types are accompanied by caveats about the limitations of over-generalization and false analogies.
Traditionally, four distinct types of workplace governance have been described: dictatorial, paternalistic, institutional and worker-participative; this chapter examines primarily the latter two types. Both private and public interests are at stake in any labour relations system. The state is an actor in the system as well, although its role varies from active to passive in different countries.
The nature of the relationships among organized labour, employers and the government with respect to health and safety are indicative of the overall status of industrial relations in a country or an industry and the obverse is equally the case. An underdeveloped labour relations system tends to be authoritarian, with rules dictated by an employer without direct or indirect employee involvement except at the point of accepting employment on the terms offered. A labour relations system incorporates both societal values e.
Traditionally, labour relations systems have been categorized along national lines, but the validity of this is waning in the face of increasingly varied practices within countries and the rise of a more global economy driven by international competition. Some countries have been characterized as having cooperative labour relations models e.
Different systems have also been distinguished on the basis of having centralized collective bargaining e. In countries having moved from planned to free-market economies, labour relations systems are in transition. There is also increasing analytical work being done on the typologies of individual employment relationships as indicators of types of labour relations systems.
Even the more classic portrayals of labour relations systems are not by any means static characterizations, since any such system changes to meet new circumstances, whether economic or political.
The globalization of the market economy, the weakening of the state as an effective force and the ebbing of trade union power in many industrialized countries pose serious challenges to traditional labour relations systems. Technological development has brought changes in the content and organization of work that also have a crucial impact on the extent to which collective labour relations can develop and the direction they take.
This in turn places pressure on established labour relations systems. Newer forms of employee representation and participation are adding an additional dimension to the labour relations picture in a number of countries.
A labour relations system sets the formal or informal ground rules for determining the nature of collective industrial relations as well as the framework for individual employment relationships between a worker and his or her employer. Complicating the scene at the management end are additional players such as temporary employment agencies, labour contractors and job contractors who may have responsibilities towards workers without having control over the physical environment in which the work is carried out or the opportunity to provide safety training.
In addition, public sector and private sector employers are governed by separate legislation in most countries, with the rights and protections of employees in these two sectors often differing significantly. Moreover, the private sector is influenced by forces of international competition that do not directly touch public-sector labour relations. Finally, neoliberal ideology favouring the conclusion of individualized employment contracts to the detriment of collectively bargained arrangements poses another threat to traditional labour relations systems.
Abandoning all collective representation would risk returning to a nineteenth century concept in which acceptance of hazardous work was largely regarded as a matter of individual free choice.
The increasingly globalized economy, the accelerated pace of technological change and the resultant call for greater flexibility on the part of industrial relations institutions, however, pose new challenges for their survival and prosperity.
Depending upon their existing traditions and institutions, the parties involved in a labour relations system may react quite differently to the same pressures, just as management may choose a cost-based or a value-added strategy for confronting increased competition Locke, Kochan and Piore, Moreover, there is another constant: the economic dependence of an individual worker on an employer remains the underlying fact of their relationship—one that has serious potential consequences when it comes to safety and health.
The employer is seen as having a general duty to provide a safe and healthful workplace and to train and equip workers to do their jobs safely. Failure to live up to these or other duties can lead to disputes, which depend on the labour relations system for their resolution. Dispute resolution mechanisms include rules governing not only work stoppages strikes, slowdowns or go-slows, work to rule, etc. Additionally, in many countries employers are required to participate in various institutions dealing with safety and health, perform safety and health monitoring, report on-the-job accidents and diseases and, indirectly, to compensate workers who are found to be suffering from an occupational injury or disease.
The field was formed from a merger of scientific management theories, welfare work and industrial psychology around the time of the First World War and has undergone considerable evolution since. Today, it stresses work organization techniques, recruitment and selection, performance appraisal, training, upgrading of skills and career development, along with direct employee participation and communication.
Common forms of employee involvement include suggestion schemes, attitude surveys, job enrichment schemes, teamworking and similar forms of empowerment schemes, quality of working-life programmes, quality circles and task forces.
Another feature of human resources management may be linking pay, individually or collectively, to performance. The example of a safety performance management programme illustrates some human resource management theories in the context of occupational safety and health. As described by Reber, Wallin and Duhon , this approach has had considerable success in reducing lost time on account of accidents.
It relies on specifying safe and unsafe behaviours, teaching employees how to recognize safe behaviour and motivating them to follow the safety rules with goal setting and feedback. The programme relies heavily on a training technique whereby employees are shown safe, correct methods via videotapes or live models. They then have a chance to practice new behaviours and are provided with frequent performance feedback.
In addition, some companies offer tangible prizes and rewards for engaging in safe behaviour rather than simply for having fewer accidents. Employee consultation is an important feature of the programme as well. The implications of human resources management for industrial relations practices remain a source of some controversy.
In some instances human resources management strategies are pursued alongside collective bargaining; in other cases the human resources management approach seeks to supplant or prevent the activities of independent organizations of workers in defence of their interests.
Proponents of human resources management maintain that since the s, the personnel management side of human resources management has evolved from being a maintenance function, secondary to the industrial relations function, to being one of critical importance to the effectiveness of an organization Ferris, Rosen and Barnum The articles which follow describe the main parties in a labour relations system and the basic principles underpinning their interaction: rights to freedom of association and representation.
A natural corollary to freedom of association is the right to engage in collective bargaining, a phenomenon which must be distinguished from consultative and non-union worker participation arrangements. Collective bargaining takes place as negotiations between representatives chosen by the workers and those acting on behalf of the employer; it leads to a mutually accepted, binding agreement that can cover a wide range of subjects.
Worker representatives in consultative bodies may or may not have been selected by the workers and there is no obligation for the state or the employer to follow the wishes of those representatives or to abide by the results of the consultative process. In some countries, collective bargaining and consultative arrangements exist side by side and, to work properly, must be carefully intermeshed. For both, rights to information about health and safety and training are crucial. Finally, this chapter takes into account that in any labour relations system, disputes may arise, whether they are individual or collective.
Safety and health issues can lead to labour relations strife, producing work stoppages. The chapter thus concludes with descriptions of how labour relations disputes are resolved, including by arbitration, mediation or resort to the regular or labour courts, preceded by a discussion of the role of the labour inspectorate in the context of labour relations.
To this picture must now be added the forces that transcend these categories: regional and other multilateral economic integration arrangements among states and multinational corporations as employers which do not have a national identity but which also can be seen as labour market institutions. Since the impact of these phenomena on labour relations remains unclear in many respects, however, discussion will focus on the more classic actors despite this caveat of the limitation of such an analysis in an increasingly global community.
In addition, greater emphasis is needed on analysing the role of the individual employment relationship in labour relations systems and on the impact of the emerging alternative forms of work.
The state always has at least an indirect effect on all labour relations. As the source of legislation, the state exerts an inevitable influence on the emergence and development of a labour relations system. Laws can hinder or foster, directly or indirectly, the establishment of organizations representing workers and employers.
To take an example, it can provide lesser or greater protection for a worker who refuses to perform work he or she reasonably considers to be too hazardous, or for one who acts as a health and safety representative. Through the development of its labour administration, the state also has an impact on how a labour relations system may function.
If effective enforcement of the law is afforded through a labour inspectorate, collective bargaining can pick up where the law leaves off. If, however, the state infrastructure for having rights vindicated or for assisting in the resolution of disputes that emerge between employers and workers is weak, they will be left more to their own devices to develop alternative institutions or arrangements.
The extent to which the state has built up a well-functioning court or other dispute resolution system may also have an influence on the course of labour relations. The ease with which workers, employers and their respective organizations may enforce their legal rights can be as important as the rights themselves.
In many countries, the state has a direct role to play in labour relations. The state may attempt to invalidate collective bargaining agreements that it perceives as interfering with its economic policy goals. Generally speaking, however, the role of the state in industrialized countries has tended to promote orderly industrial relations by providing the necessary legislative framework, including minimum levels of worker protection and offering parties information, advice and dispute settlement services.
This could take the form of mere toleration of labour relations institutions and the actors in them; it could move beyond to actively encourage such institutions. In a few countries, the state is a more active participant in the industrial relations system, which includes national level tripartite negotiations. For decades in Belgium and more recently in Ireland, for instance, government representatives have been sitting down alongside those from employer and trade union circles to hammer out a national level agreement or pact on a wide range of labour and social issues.
Tripartite machinery to fix minimum wages has long been a feature of labour relations in Argentina and Mexico, for example.
In some countries, the very idea of the state becoming involved as a negotiator in private sector bargaining is unthinkable, as in Germany or the United States. In such systems, the role of the state is, aside from its legislative function, generally restricted to providing assistance to the parties in reaching an agreement, such as in offering voluntary mediation services.
Whether active or passive, however, the state is a constant partner in any labour relations system. In addition, where the state is itself the employer, or an enterprise is publicly owned, it is of course directly involved in labour relations with the employees and their representatives. Finally, the impact of regional economic integration arrangements on state policy is also felt in the labour relations field.
Within the European Union, practice in member countries has changed to reflect directives dealing with consultation of workers and their representatives, including those on health and safety matters in particular. Employers—that is, providers of work—are usually differentiated in industrial relations systems depending upon whether they are in the private or the public sector.
Historically, trade unionism and collective bargaining developed first in the private sector, but in recent years these phenomena have spread to many public sector settings as well. In Eastern and Central Europe, one of the major challenges of the post-Communist era has been the establishment of independent organizations of employers.
In practice, most of this takes place in the ILO, which has responsibility for these questions in the United Nations system. The IOE also has Category I consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, where it intervenes whenever matters of interest or consequence to employers arise.
The IOE is one of only two organizations that the employer community has set up to represent the interests of enterprise globally. The other is the International Chamber of Commerce, with its headquarters in Paris, which concerns itself principally with economic matters.
While structurally quite different, the two organizations complement each other. They cooperate on the basis of an agreement which defines their areas of responsibility as well as through good personal relations between their representatives and, to a degree, on a common membership base. Many subjects cut across their mandates, of course, but are dealt with pragmatically without friction. On certain issues, such as multinational enterprises, the two organizations even act in unison.
Employers have common interests to defend and precise causes to advance. In organizing themselves, they pursue several aims which in turn determine the character of their organizations. ILO a. The representative function may occur in the political structure or in industrial relations institutions. Political representation is found in systems where consultation of interested economic groups is foreseen by law e. The way in which the representative function in the industrial relations system occurs depends very much on the level at which collective bargaining takes place in a particular country.
Comparative Industrial Relations
But IR also refers to a specific academic perspective, centred on certain normative and theoretical principles. This essay focuses on the three dominant perspectives in industrial relations. These perspectives are unitary perspective, pluralist perspective and Marxist perspective as Dzimbiri suggests. Perspectives in Industrial Relations. Approaches To IR.
Though the protections of employment law are usually not subject to waiver by the employee, some countries allow unions to negotiate to modify or abrogate then. This article looks at two: the United States and Germany. It points to a critical distinction between the legal capacity to make collective bargaining agreements having that effect in Germany as compared to the United States. Notwithstanding those differences, it argues that what their experience teaches in common is that such an opt-out can benefit employers by giving needed and mutually understood flexibility, and can benefit unions as institutions by making it advantageous for employers to bargain with them, but that considerable care must be taken when such license is legislated lest discrete or insular groups be dispossessed of a valuable right in a process that advantages employee coalitions that exclude them, or the union as an institution, at their expense. Finkin 36 1 Though the protections of employment law are usually not subject to waiver by the employee, some countries allow unions to negotiate to modify or abrogate then.
Skip to search form Skip to main content You are currently offline. Some features of the site may not work correctly. DOI: Bamber and R. Lansbury and J. Bamber , R.
[PDF] International and Comparative Employment Relations: National Regulation, Global Changes Free
The term labour relations, also known as industrial relations, refers to the system in which employers, workers and their representatives and, directly or indirectly, the government interact to set the ground rules for the governance of work relationships. It also describes a field of study dedicated to examining such relationships. The field is an outgrowth of the industrial revolution, whose excesses led to the emergence of trade unions to represent workers and to the development of collective labour relations. There is considerable variation in the use of the terms, partly reflecting the evolving nature of the field over time and place. The wide variety of labour relations systems throughout the world has meant that comparative studies and identification of types are accompanied by caveats about the limitations of over-generalization and false analogies.
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