We have seen major changes in the world of work in recent decades, not least of which has been a shift away from the traditional idea of trade unionism towards the concept of human resource management (HRM). Industrial relations and collective bargaining issues have therefore been a key part of these changes. While trade unions continue to play an important role in contemporary working life, much of the function of collective bargaining has been watered down. This chapter is concerned with looking at the current situation, recognizing that the changes that have taken place do not alter the fact that there is a fundamental tension between the organization and its employees, individually and collectively. We know from the work of the cooperative movement, for example, that such tensions can be managed effectively to a large extent. Our concern here, then, is to explore some of the basic aspects of how the tension between the interests of an organization and the interests of its employees can be managed constructively. In effect, this is what industrial relations is all about.
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- Chapter 13