Conflict and Employment Relations in the Individual Rights Era
[Excerpt] The field of industrial relations has undergone a fundamental transformation in recent decades. Collective bargaining and union representation, which traditionally lay at the heart of this field of study, have experienced widespread disruption and decline. This trend has been particularly strong in the liberal economies of the Anglo-American world (Colvin & Darbishire, 2013). Following the conservative revolution of the elections of Thatcher and Reagan, public policy in the United Kingdom and the United States shifted sharply away from support for collective bargaining, encouraging rising employer efforts to avoid unions that led to a contraction of union representation and weakened bargaining power for the unions that remained. The epic public policy battles over industrial relations system reform in Australia and New Zealand resulted in the disruption of the formerly centralized Award systems and a much more narrowly confined role for unions. Meanwhile the coordinated market economies of continental Europe no longer represent the unchallenged union strongholds that they once were. Notably Germany, the traditional exemplar of union centered industrial relations, has begun to shift dramatically with declining levels of collective agreement coverage, more decentralized arrangements, and a rapidly growing secondary labor market of lower paid workers on precarious contracts (Doellgast & Greer, 2007). Looking at the great arc of history, collective bargaining, and industrial relations with it, appears to be clearly on a downward trajectory.
conflict resolution; dispute resolution; industrial relations; labor relations; employment law; individual rights
Required Publisher Statement: © Emerald Publishing Limited. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. Final version published as: Colvin, A. J. S. (2016). Conflict and employment relations in the individual rights era. In D. B. Lipsky, A. C. Avgar, & J. Ryan Lamare (Eds.) Advances in industrial and labor relations: Vol. 22: Managing and resolving workplace conflict (pp. 1-30). United Kingdom: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.