Industrial relations

Understanding Industrial Relations

  • Industrial relations is a multidisciplinary field that focuses on the working relationships between employers, employees, and their trade unions.

  • It’s key to understand the importance of collective bargaining, which is the negotiation process that takes place between a company and its employees (often represented by a trade union), to set the terms and conditions of employment.

  • Trade Unions are organised groups of workers who come together to support each other in the workplace, promote and protect their rights, and negotiate with employers on all aspects of employment including wages and working conditions.

  • Employers’ Associations are organisations that bring together groups of employers to promote their interests, provide mutual support, and collectively negotiate with workers, unions or the government.

Understanding the Impact of Industrial Relations in Recruitment

  • Industrial relations can impact the recruitment market - positive relationships between employers and employees can make a company more attractive to potential new hires.

  • Conversely, poor industrial relations can deter potential employees. Strikes, disputes, and widespread dissatisfaction amongst existing staff can be red flags for those considering working for a particular organisation.

  • Trade unions may also influence recruitment practices, for instance by demanding certain hiring standards or vetting processes.

Understanding Relevant Legislation

  • Knowing the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 is important. It outlines certain protections and rights for both trade union members and their employers, including right to join or not join a union, protection from unfair dismissal, and right to take industrial action.

  • The Employment Relations Act 1999 modifies and expands on the earlier Trade Union and Labour Relations Act. It includes provisions regarding collective bargaining procedures, provision of maternity and parental leave and more.

  • The Employment Act 2008, amongst other things, deals with the procedures involved in resolving employment disputes, further offering protection against discrimination and unfair treatment.

Understanding the Role of ACAS

  • The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) plays a pivotal role in the field of industrial relations in the UK, by providing independent support to help resolve workplace disputes.

  • ACAS provides training, guidance, and various other resources on a wide range of employment disputes, including unfair dismissal cases, collective redundancies, and workplace bullying and harassment.

  • Knowing the function of ACAS can be invaluable for those involved in recruitment, as it can provide guidance on best practices and assist in resolving potential conflicts between employees or between employees and employers.