Industrial relations describes the complex series of interactions and communications between industry management and employee unions.
Aside from employers and employees, the government is the most influential force in the field of industrial relations.
Industrial Relations and Politics
The top-level management of an industry represent financially powerful organisations, while employee unions wield strong voter/populist support.
These two types of organisations are among the most politically influential. Both petition and lobby to influence the outcome of elections or the creation of legislation.
Laws and Regulations
Governments have created extensive legislation designed to protect and regulate employees and employers. The field of industrial relations is constantly evolving to meet the demands of new legislation and regulations.
Regulation of Public Services
The employers and employees of industries that provide an essential public service operate under heavier restrictions than members of other industries.
Either party must notify the government before striking or instituting a lockout. The government may forcefully settle a dispute if a compromise is not reached quickly.
Industrial relations disputes that cannot be resolved independently are often resolved as legal disputes in court. The ruling in the case creates a precedent, which shapes future, similar conflicts, and may result in the creation of legislation.
Growing influence of government
The government has become an increasingly prominent figure in the industrial relations arena. Management and unions often depend on the government to resolve disputes or change legislation to resolve a conflict.