Industrial Relations Journal

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Latest documents

  • Beyond the management–employee dyad: supply chain initiatives in shipping

    This article examines supply chain health and safety initiatives in the oil shipping industry. In particular, it explores the triangular relationships between ship cargo clients, shipping company management and seafarers and reveals the inherent complexities and tensions involved. It shows that while managers capitalise on the supply chain pressure to squeeze more effort out of seafarers, seafarers tend to adhere to the corporate line colluding with managers to hide defects and falsify records. Nevertheless, seafarers occasionally use the supply chain leverage to their advantage by tactically exposing ship defects during ship inspections.

  • Race discrimination at work: the moderating role of trade unionism in English local government

    Workplace racism remains a serious issue despite over forty years of legislation alongside a raft of HRM policies. There remains limited research on the differences in employment experiences of British Black and Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff and their white colleagues. There is a power imbalance at work as between individual employees and management, and this lack of equity has been traditionally counterbalanced by strong workplace trade unionism. In particular, we know little about the role of trade unionism on the perception of workplace equality among BAME employees. Using more than 2,580 valid responses from full‐time employees in highly unionised local councils, this study shows that BAME employees have a significantly lower evaluation than their white colleague of fair pay and equal work environment. The latter fully mediates the negative perception between BAME staff and fair pay; and furthermore, the perception of union commitment to equality strengthened their views of a management‐supported equal work environment.

  • Social partners' levers: job quality and industrial relations in the waste sector in three small European countries

    This article examines how social partners in the waste sector in Austria, Bulgaria and Denmark strive to protect job quality from negative impacts of two European trends: privatisation and greening. The article uses qualitative, comparative research to examine social partners' levers for protecting and improving job quality. Three levers are identified: negotiation power, collective agreements and general regulation that facilitate negotiation and social partnership. In general, privatisation has had a negative influence on job quality and the levers of collective actors, whereas the impact of greening is ambiguous, that is, not necessarily positive. The article concludes that stakeholders' ability to improve job quality is contingent upon their activity on both a national and European level.

  • The rise of professional unions in Germany. Challenge and threat for established industrial relations?

    The author analyses the rise of professional unions, one of the most remarkable developments in German labour movement since the early 2000s. By means of strikes, they managed to get officially accepted as autonomous partners for collective bargaining. The author asks whether their emergence challenges or even threats the established systems of industrial relations.

  • When trade unions turn to litigation: ‘getting all the ducks in a row’

    Driven by their members' demands and the need to adopt more combative legal strategies in order to oppose the deterioration of working and employment conditions, British trade unions have developed in‐house legal expertise and supported many individual and multiple claims. This article investigates the variation in unions' legal practices and examines their organisational responses to law and the role of compliance professionals in the regulation of employment litigation. It provides a nuanced account of the influence of legal rationality on the framing of union strategies and shows that, under certain conditions, trade unions are able to build multi‐pronged tactics by using litigation as a complement to other forms of action.

  • The non‐professionally affiliated (NPA) worker as co‐producer of public services: how is the role experienced in UK mental health services?

    Recent workforce reforms have led to the widespread expansion of non‐professionally affiliated (NPA) support and assistant roles within UK public services. Research into these roles has been confined to a limited range of settings, with a focus on the consequence of change for professional workers. This article explores the emergence of ‘co‐production’, whereby NPA workers contribute alongside the professional in a distinct, complementary way. Findings are drawn from semi‐structured interviews with frontline workers and managers within the context of mental health workforce reform. The results build a picture of NPA working life characterised in part by autonomy and responsibility. At the same time, NPA workers rely on colleagues for support and are subject to being used indirectly by professionals. Contextual influences are considered. The conceptual implications of the analysis are brought out, both for the NPA role itself and for the broader issues involved in front line service work.

  • Reconstructing Solidarity: Labour Unions, Precarious Work, and the Politics of Institutional Change in Europe Virginia Doellgast, Nathan Lillie, and Valeria Pulignano (eds) Oxford University Press Publications, 2018, 250 pp., £60.00. ISBN: 9780198791843
  • Issue Information

    No abstract is available for this article.

  • Channels of employee voice: complementary or competing for space?

    This article identifies the existence of employee voice channels and examines how they interact within the context of an overall organisational voice system. In so doing, we can better appreciate the disparities between the micro‐level reality and macro‐level rhetoric of employee voice for highly skilled employees in the knowledge intensive sector. Drawing on an instrumental, inductive case study involving managers and, most notably, employees, the research finds that the plurality of mechanisms provided for voice appears to cause some confusion that leads to a neglect of certain channels and others competing for attention. This raises the issue, which has not received attention thus far, as to whether the availability of multiple voice channels can have counter‐productive effects whereby they start to compete with rather than complement each other.

  • Issue Information

    No abstract is available for this article.

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