Employee Relations – Discuss the political Essay
The factors that have had the most significant influence on these changes are political, economic, social and technological of which I will be discussing to identify what particular influences these factors have had on employee relations over the last 25-30 years. To do this I first need to define the meaning of employee relations, which can be defined as according to Rose (2004):”the study of the regulation of the employment relationship between employer and employee, OTOH collectively and individually and the determination of substantive and procedural issues at industrial organizational and workplace levels. (Rose, 2004 p. 8)There are a number of political factors that have had a significant influence on employee relations over the last 25-30 years such as the influence of the Conservative government from 1979-1997, which included a decline in trade unions, new acts and legislations put in place, and the emergence of the Labor government from 1997 to the present day which has also brought a number of changes to the employee relations context.
The Conservative government has had a significant influence on employee relations in terms of changes to the legal framework of labor law. These changes involved the relationships between the employer and employee, the employer
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This was done in order to encourage flexibility as the government felt that the employee was much more in favor than the employer and that the employer was being faced with an unnecessary amount of pressure to conform to rules which in turn prevented them from taking certain actions or making certain decisions. Even though this did occur at the end of the Conservative governments reign in 1997 this attempt at deregulating employees rights did not have a major affect as they were able to retain most but not all of their statutory rights.
Concerning the relationship between the employer and the union this changed significantly from 1979 when collective bargaining had been according to Rose:”undermined by the repeal of the legislative supports for collective bargaining, compulsory change union membership and trade union recognition granted by the legislation by the sass’s and the Employment Relations Act. ” (Rose, 2004 p. 209)Since legislations put in place concerning the collective bargaining of the employer and the union and the union and the membership relationships.
The acts and legislations involved were: The 1980 Employment Act and The 1982 Employment Act, The Trade Union and Labor Relations Act 1992 and The 1993 Trade Union Reform and Employment Act. These acts and legislations were each put in place to provide employees with employment protection concerning their workers’ rights and has had a good influence on employee relations over the last 25-30 years because it has allowed employees to have the right to dispute issues within the workplace such as unfair dismissal, pay and discrimination, for example through the form of strikes and trade union representation.
The era from 1997-2003 was the period of the Labor government led by Tony Blair which brought about new labor policies and legislations. The new Labor overspent policies involved achieving fairness in the workplace, encouraging flexibility at work and to create a better relationship between employer and employee. These new policies introduced The Fairness at Work and The Employment Act 1999, The National Minimum Wage, The Working Time Regulations and The Employment Act 2002 which has improved the way employee relations has changed for the better over the last 25-30 years by modernizing the employer/employee relationship.
For example, the introduction of the Fairness at work has given employees a number of rights such as the reduction of the qualifying period for lamming unfair dismissal from two years to one, allowing employees to make unfair dismissal claims if they have been dismissed for taking part in lawfully organized industrial action and also the implementation of the SEC Directive on parental leave to allow all parents to have the right of three months parental leave and the introduction of the right to time off for urgent family reasons.
During the sass’s and sass’s the trade unions in the UK were affected by a number of reasons. The decline in membership and the increase in organizations without unions was a major factor of this. The number of union memberships for example was at its highest point at 13. 2 million in 1979 and fell to Just below 7. 9 million in 2001. This decline was because of the decline in manufacturing and the growth within the service sector.
The power of unions was weakened by the Conservative government between 1979-1997 through the legislations mentioned previously such as, the protection of individual union member’s rights to give them the right to refuse to take part in or support strikes, the right of employers to dismiss employees taking unofficial strike action, the requirement for secret balloting of union members when electing voting members of a unions governing body and also the prevention of the use of union funds to compensate a member for the consequences of unlawful conduct during a strike, for example paying fines.
But since the Labor government has come into power they have supported employee relations in which employees do not feel they have to take unofficial action against their employer therefore making it legal for the union role within organizations. Relations over the last 25-30 years are the sector shift from manufacturing to the service sector and the characteristics of labor in the I-J in terms of skills and inactivity rates. Over the last 25-30 years there has been a major sector shift in employment away from manufacturing to the service sector.
In 1970, nearly eight million people worked in manufacturing but this fell to seven million by 1980 and has now dropped to four million. This change in employment has had implications within employee relations in particular in areas of HER and also the growth of new organizations is particularly significant in the employee relations context. The majority of the growth in the number of people employed is because of the increase in women involved in employment in the economy.
In 2000, over two million more women were employed than had been in 1985, comparing this to the growth rate of men of one million. However, the employment growth rate for women remained below that for men in the age group 16-64 according to the Government Equalities office “women and equality” facets. The labor market has many more women than men working part-time and more involved in the service sector and in Jobs with lower pay and status.
Connected with the growth in female participation in the labor market has been the shift of employment between full-time and part-time ark as well as some changes to the number of people working on temporary contract or self-employed. The number of people that were employed on full-time contracts increased by 7% between 1985 and 2000 whereas part-time employment increased by more than one third over the same time. Therefore, the amount of Jobs that are part-time increased from less than 20% in 1985 to 25% by the turn of the century.
More recently though, workers in part-time employment, make up thirty- three of those employed according to the Labor Market Trends (ELM, November 2001), therefore, from this information it shows that part-time work has become more redemption in I-J employment over the last few decades. The growth in part-time work is because of changes from manufacturing to service occupations mentioned previously and to the emergence of new organizations in the service sector that are more likely to employ part-time workers than organizations who require full-time workers.
Another economic factor is the imbalance by skills which is also related to the service sector as over the last 25-30 years there has been a decline in the demand for skills in the manufacturing sector but a growth in managerial, professional occupations and in service industries. In Britain the wage gap between those with high qualifications and those with no qualifications has increased largely between the sass’s and sass’s regardless of the significant increase in the numbers of qualified people compared to those with no qualifications.
Inactivity rates for men without qualifications had increased a great deal so that by 1998 almost one third were unemployed. For those without qualifications in the age group 25-34 the amount of the male population who were not working because of sickness or disability had increased from 3. 11% in 1979 to 18% in 1998 and this number has doubled since 993 during a time when unemployment was falling. This is one of the key factors underlying the rise in male inactivity over the last twenty years. Over the last 25-30 years is the improving position of women compared to men and flexibility within the workplace.
Over the last 25-30 years women have caught up with men in terms of employment rates and pay rates. This concerns the employment rates of men and women coming together and the hourly pay of full-time women rising significantly. The pay gap has begun to close over the last 25-30 years because of qualification rates that have been rising from women than men. For example, by he middle of the sass’s the amount of younger full-time women with degrees was much higher than for men whereas the number of part-time women with degrees was only one third as great.
These changes have been driven mainly by the impact of the anti-discrimination legislation of the early sass’s and also because more employers have recognized that it was not wise to throw away profits by making it hard for women to enter and progress within their organizations. The issue of flexibility has been affected by demographic and other factors such as the age structure, diversity, the use of non-standard contracts and the Regulation of Working Hours. Also in relation to these factors is the issue of work-life balance.
Flexibility emerged as a major issue within the context of employee relations in the sass’s because there was a great need for it. For the factor of age structure, social trends show that the number of people economically active in the age group 16-24 was falling while those aged 25-44 was rising. This was because of the increasing amount of the workforce had child rearing responsibilities or caring responsibilities of an elderly relative which created this need for flexibility in working hours and the location of place of work in order to support these workers.
In the Workplace Employee Relations Survey 1998 (WERE 1998) is has shown that in the I-J, women’s share of total employment increased to 47% from 42% in 1980, the amount of all workplaces with a low amount of female workers fell to 27% from 36%in 1980 and the majority of women workers are involved in clerical, serving or cleaning occupations but has also increased in middle and senor management.
Therefore from this survey it was necessary for gender diversity to be an important factor within the workplace and also the need to recruit and retain female employees in order to meet both skill ND labor shortages and equal opportunities requirements which has reinforced the work-life balance. The use of non-standard contracts according to the WERE 1998 has shown that the amount of all employees working part-time in the I-J increased to 25% from 21% in 1980 while subcontracting was carried out by 90% of all workplaces.
Overall there has been a shift towards flexible labor practices whereby organizations replace full-time core workers with part-time, temporary and sub- contracted work. The introduction of the Working Times Regulations 1998 set limits on working hours per weeks and entitlements to rest breaks and days. The need for work-life balance is a concept which recognizes the need for employers to support employees in achieving a balance between the demands of their work and the demand of home and family life.
Flexible working policies were designed to give employees options in opportunities and family friendly rights laws. For example, equal opportunities for women that need changes made to their working patterns e. G. New shifts or working hours that result in a loss of earnings or dismissal of women because of childcare responsibilities have been taken as sexual discrimination.
The policy of family roundly rights involves giving employees parental leave and reasonable time off to deal with family emergencies have been provided for in the UK law for some years in order to make possible a work-life balance. Technology has been a significant influence to employee relations over the last 25-30 years by bringing widespread change in workplaces even from the nineteenth century technology has been a significant development in employee relations for example, the steam engine, the electric motor and railways.
Such technologies have led to the emergence of new industries and have generated productivity enhancing improvements in the economy. In terms of employment, technology has affected employees with different levels of skill it has also increased the demand for highly skilled labor and reduced the demand for low skilled workers. New Information Technology (IT) has led to an increase in the demand for highly skilled technicians such as computer programmers.
Many users of IT use it for tasks such as emailing and word processing which requires complicated technical skills and also during a time of technological change workers need to be more flexible as skilled workers tend to be more flexible and the demand for them increases when technological changes speed up. Telecommunications has become more popular in organizations within the last 25-30 years and employers have realized the benefits of it, including productivity gains, reduced absences, and reduced relocation costs.
For employees, telecommunications can offer more flexibility and a break from workplace policies such as dress codes and formal office hours. This technology has also allowed a new kind of team to emerge which is a virtual team; these are teams that can be formed bringing together the best people regardless of location and time. Email, teleconferencing, videoconferencing and new emerging technologies are allowing people around the world to communicate and work together quickly and efficiently.
Technology has also simplified the way in which HER managers perform their daily tasks through allowing them to play a more strategic role within the company in freeing them from administrative tasks. In the current period of IT, there are many opportunities to make use of computer technology to send out information to employees that would not have been available over the last 30 years for example important messages can be sent to certain managers through electronic mail systems which they can then pass the necessary information onto their employees.
The emergence of HER information systems has allowed HER managers to use HER information systems to evaluate data from their employees for example; individuals training and development needs can be compared with the training and development options available within the organization. This HER information system can include keeping records of educational achievements and degree certifications, courses taken internally and externally, results of courses and training recommendations which can be provided to employees as part of their career evaluate if they have enough people with the specific skills to accomplish company oils.
In conclusion the factors of political, economic, social and technology have all had a significant influence on employee relations over the last 25-30 years, in particular the political factors that include legislations and acts that have been introduced within employee relations in order to protect individuals in the workplace, economic factors such as the growth in the number of women in employment over the past few decades, social factors such as pay issues and flexibility has allowed women to be able to manage their work and family responsibilities in a balanced way and finally genealogical factors have been the most significant influence on employee relations as it has changed the workplace in a huge way in terms of allowing employers to communicate with their employees via emails, intranet, etc in different ways other than face to face communication when they cannot be in the same place at the same time for example. Technology has also played a huge part in human resource management in making it simpler for them to carry out daily tasks giving them more time to be more strategically involved within the workplace. Bibliography/ReferencesBooksBeardwell, J & Clayton, T (2007) Human Resource