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It is our intention to examine the interplay between industrial relations (IR) and human resource management (HRM).

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Introduction It is our intention to examine the interplay between industrial relations (IR) and human resource management (HRM). There are many contradictions both in theory and in practice between HRM and IR at workplace level and beyond. The central contradiction concerns the very essence of the nature of HRM and IR. IR has traditionally been concerned with collective representation of employees. This means that through the process of collective bargaining, employee representatives negotiate with employer representatives over a large range of substantive issues such as pay, working conditions etc., as well as procedural arrangements such as disciplinary, disputes and redundancy procedures. Trade Unions by their very nature are concerned with protecting the interests of the employees, firstly by securing the highest price for their labour. Employers, on the other hand, wish to buy labour at the lowest cost to themselves. Therefore, there is a conflict of interest between employees and employers. The conflict is ever present and needs to be continually regulated through the process of collective bargaining. One of the issues that HRM places emphasis on is the commitment of the individual employee to the employer's organization. The main contradiction referred to above is between the individualism of the HRM approach to the employment relationship to the collectivism of the IR approach to that relationship. Another issue that should be looked at is recent attempts to incorporate certain aspects of IR within HRM, and this has given rise to speculation about the emergence of a contemporary form of IR. ...read more.


There are two main types of employers associations: 1. Single-industry associations, which limit membership to employers from specific industries, and deal solely with the problems of those industries, such as the Master Builders Association. Employers associations may be dependent on other organizations for specialized services or may be only semi dependent, employing some staff but not enough to meet all the needs of members. 2. Umbrella organizations, which have multi-industry membership that may include single-industry associations; umbrella organizations therefore deal with a wide range of problems and interests. One of the problems that employers bear, is that they are not as well coordinated or disciplined as trade unions in their approach to industrial matters. In part, this is a result of competition between members. Also, employers perceive their associations as being advisory and as a source of specialist services. They do not accept direction from their associations, and make their decisions about the union demands often on a company rather than an industry basis. There is little an association can do about members who do not follow association policy. It should also be noted that with the variety of membership, an association policy that suits one company may not suit the other due to differences in size, location, etc (Clark, 1993, p. 110). * Trade Unions Union concerns have traditionally been concerned with pay rates, conditions of work and work security. ...read more.


Overall, this act was designed to increase efficiency and productivity within the Australian workforce in order to compete with the rest of the world (Clark, 1993, p. 121). Trends The future may hold the following future industrial relations trends: * Focus on horizontal authority and reduced hierarchy; * Responsibility for people-management being devoted to line managers; the role of personnel professionals is to support and facilitate line management, and not to control it; * Employees are viewed as subjects with the potential for growth and development; the purpose of HRM being to identify this potential and develop it in line with the adaptive needs of the organisation; * Management and non-management having common a common interest in the success of the organisation. Its purpose is to ensure that all employees are aware of this and committed to common goals; * An attempt to lessen the earnings gap between the most highly paid and the most lowly paid, which has been widening over the last few years * Although levels and duration of industrial conflict have fallen during the 1990s, the current trend is for shorter strikes still; * A movement away from larger bargaining units will result in a higher proportion of directly negotiated settlements. * New workplace and HRM practices will replace unions and collective bargaining; * The new paradigm will differ from the 'pluralist' approach traditionally dominant in IR. Organisations will place more emphasis on "mutual gains"(Cuming, 1995, p.32) Detailed Summary Anna, Simone & Rob Group Assignment MGF 2661 "Industrial Relations" 22/03/01 Week 4 1 ...read more.

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