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Resolving Conflict in the

Workplace
This is only intended to guide a lesson! It is
too text heavy for students, so alter it if you
intend to use in lessons.

Key Points
1. What are industrial relations?
2. Causes of conflict
3. Promoting good industrial relations
4. What are trade unions
5. Negotiating employee pay and conditions
6. Industrial Relations Act 1990
7. Types of Industrial Action
8. Consequences of Strikes
9. Labour Relations Commission
10.Labour Court
11. Unfair Dismissals Act 1977 to 2007
12.Employment Equality Act 1998

Industrial Relations
Refer to the quality of the relations
that exist between managers and the
employees in an organisation.

Benefits of Industrial Relations

Easier to recruit high quality staff.


Easier to retain high quality staff.
Low levels of absenteeism.
Low levels of staff turnover.
More productive staff.
Fewer industrial disputes.

Conflict in the Workplace


A conflict between employee and employer
is known as an industrial dispute.
Causes:
Pay and working conditions
Redundancies/dismissals
Discrimination of staff

Conflict in the Workplace


Can be made worse by:
Poor communication
Unrealistic employees
Excessively demanding employers
Lack of trust
Aggressive interpersonal behaviour

Promoting Good Industrial Relations

Paying good wages


Open communication
Building trust and respect
Keeping promises
Treating staff fairly
A clear grievance procedure

Trade Unions
Organisations that represent the views and
interests of employees in matters concerning
pay and employment conditions

Benefits of TUs
To employees

Protect their rights


Better pay and conditions
Negotiate on their behalf
Provide advice
Provide a national voice

To employers

Simplifies
communication
Saves time
Saves money

Irish Congress of Trade Unions


Also known as ICTU
Speak on behalf of all unions in Ireland
Provides training for unions and members
Resolves disputes between different unions

Pay Claims

Cost of living claim


Comparability claim
Relativity claim
Productivity claim

How are these claims negotiated

Negotiating Pay and Conditions


Local pay bargaining

National Wage Agreement

Employers or employees
want to change pay or
other conditions.

Changing pay in a sector


between government,
employer and employee.

Types:
1. Individual bargaining
2. Collective bargaining

Type:
1. Social partnership

Industrial Relations Act 1990


Law that sets out the rules concerning
industrial disputes and strikes.
Disputes must be legitimate.
Unions must hold a secret ballot and get
majority approval.
Unions must give at least 1 weeks notice.
Legalises official disputes.
Immunity for union and members
No legal protection for unofficial disputes

contd
Primary picketing is allowed.
Secondary picketing and wildcat strikes
do not have any legal protection.
Established the Labour Relations
Commission.

Types of Industrial Action

Token stoppages
Work to rule
Go slow
Overtime bans
A strike

Consequences of A Strike
Can negatively affect:
The business. Operations and production are
disrupted. Sales are lost. Profits fall.
Competitors can gain market share.
Management time is spent on resolving the
dispute.
The employees. Lose wages. Job security can
be undermined. If the strike is unsuccessful,
they can lose confidence in the union.

Contd
The customer. Goods and services are
unavailable.
The suppliers. Loss of sales.
The investor. Reduction in dividends.
The economy. Less money circulating.
The government. Loss of tax revenue.
Undermine international reputation.

Labour Relations Commission


A state agency that helps to resolve
industrial disputes.
Provides:

Conciliation Service. An Industrial Relations


Officer at the LRC assists employers and
union reps to sort out their differences and
negotiate a solution.Talk out is better than
walk out.

Contd
Rights Commissioner Service. Helps disputes
involving one or a small group of workers
concerning unfair dismissals, maternity leave or
disciplinary procedures.
Industrial Relations Advisory Service for firms
and employees with queries about employment
law and good HR practices.
Code of Practice. A set of recommended
voluntary rules used in industrial relations to
solve disputes.

LRC Service

Benefits

Conciliation Service

Must disputes this service help


with get resolved.

Rights Commissioner Service

A free service. Cases are held in


private.

Industrial Relations Advisory


Service

Identify the weaknesses and


underlying problems that can
cause strikes.

Codes of Practice

Very useful guides. Not legally


enforcedable but are taken into

Labour Court
Is involved when the LRC cannot resolve a
dispute.
They are the court of last resort in
industrial disputes.
Provides an arbitration service by listening
to both sides before recommending a
solution.

Contd
Consists of reps of employers, TU and an
independent chairperson.
Only gets involved when asked by LRC or
decision of Rights Commissioner/ Equality
Officer is rejected.
Provides an arbitration service.
Binding arbitration (both sides agree in advance
to accept the courts decision)

Registers industrial relations agreement

Contd
Agreement is now legally binding.
Establishes Joint Labour Committees
(JLC).
JLC is a forum for negotiating minimum
pay and conditions in industries where
many workers do not have union
protection.

Dismissal
Sacked from a job due to incompetence,
dishonesty or breach of company discipline.
Considered fair if:
Unacceptable conduct.
Job has become redundant.
Voluntary
Compulsory
Employer followed proper procedure.

Contd
Dismissal is unfair if:

Employer did not follow proper procedures


Employer cannot prove employee
incompetence, unacceptable behaviour or
that the job was redundant.
Employers engages in constructive dismissal
(making working conditions so difficult that
it forces him/her to leave

Contd
The employee has been employed by a
business for any period of time and is
dismissed because:
Of their need to take maternity/carer
leave
Going on strike
Of their age
Of their religious/political views

Before being dismissed...


The employee has the right:

To know the reason for their dismissal


To have a reply of reply to those reasons
To have a fair hearing
To be accompanied by a representative at
any hearing of the dismissal

Penalties for Unfair Dismissal


Financial compensation for the employee up
to a maximum of 2 years pay.
Reinstatement of the employee to their job
with financial compensation for lost earnings.
Re-engagement of the employee to a similar
job without compensation (when the
employee contributed to the dismissal)

Employment Appeals Tribunal


A State body ensuring that firms obey the
Unfair Dismissals Act 1977 to 2007.
This Act are laws preventing employees
from being dismissed from their job for
unfair reasons.
Mainly applies to workers employed in a
business for more than one year

Employment Equality Act 1998


The law that says it is illegal to discriminate
against anyone at work on the basis of:
Gender
Marital status
Family status
Age
Disability
Race
Sexual Orientation
Religious belief (or none)
Being a Traveller

Contd
Discrimination = being treated in a less
favourable way than another person
The law covers job applicants, full time and
part time employees and also customers.
Equality Authority and the Director of
Equality Investigations was set up to
enforce the law.

The Equality Authority


State agency responsible for ensuring that
businesses do not break equality laws.
Functions:
Monitor the operation of equality legislation
Advise employers, employees and customers
Assist people with equality complaints

Director of Equality Investigations

Responsible for actually investigating


complaints concerning discrimination
referred by the Equality Authority.

Dealing with Discrimination


Non-legislative methods

Talk
Seek help/Contact you
union

Legislative methods
An equality officer will
investigate. Has the power to
enter a business and seek
any info they want. Results in
compensation or action to
correct the discrimination.
An equality mediator will use
conciliation to work with
both parties and find a
mutually accept settlement.

What Have We Covered In This


Topic?
1. What are industrial relations?
2. Causes of conflict
3. Promoting good industrial relations
4. What are trade unions
5. Negotiating employee pay and conditions
6. Industrial Relations Act 1990
7. Types of Industrial Action
8. Consequences of Strikes
9. Labour Relations Commission
10.Labour Court
11. Unfair Dismissals Act 1977 to 2007
12.Employment Equality Act 1998