Employee Relations

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Introduction To enable employees to deliver productive outcomes at work and within society, one must first consider the concept of industrial relations; later known as employee relations due to the shift in trading trends of the UK from predominantly manufacturing industries. Employee relations concentrate on the management and maintenance of the employment relationship between employer and employee. This means dealing with employees either through trade unions or individually to bargain for employment practices, terms and conditions of employment and grievances or disciplinary action. It also seeks to providing employees with a voice (Armstrong, 2012). An employee seeks good and honest pay, decent working conditions, security of…show more content…
During the post war consensus 1945-1979, the state chose to adopt a Keynesian economics approach where it continued to take an overseeing role rather than a leading role to employee relations. Very little legislation was passed that had a direct impact on ER, essentially the government allowed companies to pave the way forward on and allowed the economy to find its own natural equilibrium. The boom of industrialisation and extensive economic growth for this time period gave rise to a radical increase in trade union memberships which peaked at 12 million in 1979 (Armstrong, 2012). This allowed the development of a system in which some of the core bargaining powers of economic development could facilitate collectively bargained wage increases (Eironline, 2013). The era shortly after 1973 was plagued by trade union militancy and record levels of industrial action, with any attempts of government intervention to control the system ensuring failure. This led to the infamous period of 1978–1979, the ‘winter of discontent’, where public sector trade unions engaged in regular and extensive industrial action over the serving Labour government’s policy of pay restraint (Eironline, 2013). The state had come to recognise that the powers of trade unions had become too excessive and obtrusive whilst employers were complaining that labour was becoming unreasonably expensive which was driving up expenditure and reducing profitable productivity.
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