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Influences On Irish Industrial Relations Over The Last 30 Years

2643 words - 11 pages

1. 0 Intoduction
Farelly (2012) states in the “Economic Context” section on that Ireland is a small, open economy that depends heavily on foreign direct investment from foreign multinationals. Due to Ireland’s low corporation tax and it’s English speaking workforce, it attracts these multinationals. In the 1990’s, Ireland experienced a boom in its economy, commonly known as the “Celtic Tiger”, with this, came high levels of employment growth and many new jobs were created. Unfortunately, this did not last, because in 2008 there was a major economic downturn which caused a rapid increase of unemployment which in turn, led to very high levels of emigration to places such as Australia. Emigration meant money leaving the Irish economy, which is also known as leakages. Farelly (2012) writes that there was a huge number of job losses since 2008, and unemployment rose to 14.5% in 2011 as a result of the recession. Due to this, Ireland earned a negative image which did not encourage any foreign direct investment. LRC (n.d.) explain that due to things such as salary cuts and redundancies as employers try their best in order to cut costs, employees have found their livelihood under threat and therefore the industrial relations have become strained. The Labour Relations Commission has found itself handling increased numbers of referrals to do with pay and redundancies with its Conciliation Service. In this essay, the changes that have effected industrial relations law, collective bargaining, trade unions and the Labour Court in the past 30 years will be discussed.

2.0 Industrial Relations Law
2.1 Industrial Relations Act 1990
According to LRC (n.d.) in the 1970’s, the Irish Industrial Relations saw frequent disputes and strikes which led to a disturbance in essential services such as the rail service, the bank and the bus service. This did not have a positive impact on the Irish image as a location for foreign investment. A commission was then established because of the industrial unrest, to examine industrial relations law. Due to this commission, the 1990 Industrial Relations Act was passed. There was many changes made to the law in relation to industrial actions because of this new act, there was also changes to secret ballots, picketing and trade unions, as well as to industrial relation’s procedures for dealing with industrial disputes. According to (“Industrial Relations Act, 1990”, n.d. para. 4) the act has the following functions:
• Introduce pre-strike secret ballot rules
• Restrict the use of injunctions in trade disputes
• Reform trade dispute law
• Facilitate the further rationalisation of the trade union movement
• Provide for the establishment of a new Labour Relations Commission with overall responsibility for the promotion of good industrial relations
• Make changes in the procedure for referral of disputes to the Labour Court
• Amend procedures governing the establishment and operation of Joint Labour Committees

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