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Employment Relation Work

Compare and Contrast Employment Relation System in Britain and America

The history of employment relations is dominated by the changing relationships between workers, trade unions, employers and the state. The concept which started from the rights for sufficient payment and good working conditions now has evolved in much broader areas.

Coming from mid 19thessay技巧_critical essay怎么写_expository essay範例 century to this date, employment relation has evolved a lot as a concept and practice. Employment relation in Britain and USA has some similarity in its fundamental areas of pay and working conditions; however, there are some differences like in industrial relation, unionism, collective bargaining as well as other HR practices.

What are Employment Relation and Industrial Relation?

Employment relation is the broader term of industrial relation. The term "industrial relations" has developed both a broad and a narrow meaning. When defining broadly, industrial relations, relationships and interactions between employers and employees.

From this perspective, industrial relations cover all aspects of the employment relationship, including human resource (or personnel) management, employee relations, and union-management (or labour) relations.

However, the term ‘industrial relation’ was narrowed in 1950s and 60s to avoid the confusion from word industrial, now , more restricted interpretation that largely links it with unionized employment relationships. In this view, industrial relations relate to the study and practice of collective bargaining, trade unionism, and labour-management relations, while human resource management is a separate, largely distinct field that deals with non-union employment relationships and the personnel practices and policies of employers. Thus, employment relations can be said to encapsulate both HRM and industrial relations.

UK history

Employment relation, as we now know, essentially grew from the trade union with the need to improve pay and working conditions, in particular around issues of health and safety and quality of life for the workers. To understand the issues today it is important to remember the past and the origins of the Trade Union movement and, in particular the role that women played in that process.

Trade unions in the industrialization in the 18th century existed as artisans' guilds; but trade unions did not formally (or legally) come into existence in Britain until the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century. Employers used to determine the wages of an individual worker. Trade unions were not legal, also legislation prevents their existence.

essay技巧_critical essay怎么写_expository essay範例Workers were able to form friendly societies and trade clubs, but were hindered by the legislation. The Six Acts of 1819 extend the magistrates' powers and restrict meetings and the distribution of leaflets. Trade Unions Act of 1825, allowed trade unions to exist, but not to strike, picket, or intimidate the workers who did not go on strike.

essay技巧_critical essay怎么写_expository essay範例The legislation 1824–25 enabled organizations of workers to engage in collective bargaining. In 1851 the Amalgamated Society of Engineers (ASE) was formed. It was followed by unions in a number of crafts, such as carpentry, bricklaying, and boiler making These ‘New Model unions’ offered schemes against sickness, unemployment, and old age, and did not wish to change the nature of society. They did not support strikes, and tried instead to negotiate with employers. They were well organized and, since they recruited from skilled workers, well financed.

In 1868 thirty‐four delegates representing 118,000 trade unionists met at a ‘congress’ in Manchester; the Trades Union Congress (TUC) gradually became accepted as the central organization for trade unions. Under the Trade Union Act of 1871 unions were fully legalized and union funds were protected from dishonest officials. The Criminal Law Amendment Act (1871) allowed peaceful picketing during strikes.

19th century saw the growth of ‘new unionism’– unions for unskilled workers. The new unions concentrated on fighting for better wages and against unemployment. Strike action undertaken by unskilled workers' unions was more successful, such as the London Match Girls' Strike, led by Annie Besant in 1888; the Glassworkers' Strike, led by Will Thorne in 1889; and the Dockers' Strike, led by Ben Tillett in 1889.

essay技巧_critical essay怎么写_expository essay範例After the 1890s the organization of unskilled labour spread rapidly. The trade union movement was involved in the formation, in 1900, of the Labour Representation Committee, a predecessor of the Labour Party. Successive acts of Parliament enabled the unions to broaden their field of action; for example, the Trade Disputes Act of 1906 protected the unions against claims for damages by their employers, and in 1908 the miners secured an eight‐hour day for their members, after industrial action.

essay技巧_critical essay怎么写_expository essay範例By 1918 unions were stronger than ever before with a membership of 8 million. In 1919 miners, railway workers, and transport workers formed the ‘Triple Alliance’, agreeing to take joint action if any one union was threatened... Under the Trade Disputes and Trade Union Act of 1927 general strikes or strikes called in sympathy with other workers were made illegal, and union membership slumped. During the depression of the early 1930s, the unions were weak, since employers could call upon a vast pool of unemployed people who were happy to work under any conditions.

Because of coalition government of union leaders, trade unions raised to 8 million by 1944. The restrictive 1927 Act was repealed under the Labour government in 1946 resulting increase in unionism among white‐collar workers.

From the 1960s onwards there were confrontations between the government and the trade unions. In 1965 the Labour government set up a royal commission to examine the role of trade unions. The succeeding Conservative government's Industrial Relations Act (1971) included registration of trade unions, legal enforcement of collective agreements, compulsory cooling‐off periods, and strike ballots. The Employment Protection Act (1975) and the Trade Union Act (1976) increased the involvement of the government in industrial relations.

essay技巧_critical essay怎么写_expository essay範例At this time, UK trade union membership had reached a peak of 13.5 million, representing 54% of the workforce. However, the 1980s saw a sharp setback in union fortunes, caused by severe economic repression, a shift in the economy towards the poorly‐unionized service industry, small firms, part‐time and self‐employed sectors, and a hostile Conservative government Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher made the reduction of union power a key priority. Consequently, by 1989 union membership had fallen to 9.7 million, or 40% of the workforce, while working days lost to industrial action were around 3 million per annum. By 1996 union membership had fallen further, to a level of 7.9 million, of whom four‐fifths were affiliated to the TUC.

The Labour government which came to power in 1997 ,announced, in 1998, that an employer would be required to recognize a union if a minimum of 40% of the total workforce vote in favour of union representation.

It also introduced a statutory minimum wage, which unions representing low‐paid workers had campaigned for.

essay技巧_critical essay怎么写_expository essay範例However, although still an important paymaster of the Labour Party, trade unions' influence over the party's policy and decision‐making was far less than during the 1970s. There still existed, in 1999, around 230 trade unions. Now, the trend has been towards union merger to create a small number of ‘super unions’.

US History

essay技巧_critical essay怎么写_expository essay範例Trade unionism in USA was always opposed by employers and government, situation for unions was hostile than in UK, even using police and armed guards to harass pickets and protect strike breakers, which led to series of violence and bitter conflict.

essay技巧_critical essay怎么写_expository essay範例Although the Democrat New Deal administration provided the right of workers to organize freely and bargain collectively, US legislation such as the Taft‐Hartley Act (1947), prohibited the closed shop (an agreement between employer and union that only the union's members could be employed), and the Landrum‐Griffin Act (1959) outlawed picketing of a related firm's premises.

Starting in the early 1960s, the New Deal industrial relations system, with its emphasis on collective bargaining as the major institution for determining wages and labour conditions in the economy, began to erode and be replaced by a new system.

Bad economic conditions from the 1970s onwards, and a shift in the balance of the economy away from manufacturing towards the service industry, where unionization rates were historically low, resulted in a progressive fall in union activity in the USA.

The new system that emerged, and then became consolidated in the 1980s and 1990s, featured a much smaller role for collective bargaining with a much-expanded role for personnel management now called human resource management and direct government regulation of employment conditions.

essay技巧_critical essay怎么写_expository essay範例The new deal system in the US became the bases on which Human Resource management prosper as a separate filed of study and profession and influence of trade union decreases.

essay技巧_critical essay怎么写_expository essay範例Serials of events from 1960s to 1990s lead to the present situation where Human resource management is popular and power of trade union is neutralised. It is not that there was only t entirely negative for unions, however. The most positive development was the spread of collective bargaining to the public sector. After liberalization of state and federal laws in the 1960s and 1970s, union coverage in the public (government) sector greatly expanded, from 11 percent in 1960 to 37 percent in 2000.

However, during 1960s, personnel/human resource management started coming major force in industrial relations, this is due to decline of the unionized sector of the economy, these new ideas and practices in human resource management allowed companies, in turn, to effectively take advantage of this opportunity. Personnel management by this time started to be recognised as tools of motivating people at work, increasing job satisfaction thus increasing the productivity.

essay技巧_critical essay怎么写_expository essay範例These new insights were gradually integrated into personnel management, leading to a shift in both its name to human resource management and its approach to managing employees (from viewing employees as a short-run expense to a long-term asset). As a result, human resource management gradually replaced labour-management relations (increasingly thought of as synonymous with industrial relations) in the eyes of academics and practitioners as the locus of new and exciting workplace developments.

With the practices of human resources, came the new employment practices into selected plants and facilities, culminating in the development of what is often called a "high-performance" work system.

With package of employment practices, self-managed work teams, gain sharing forms of compensation, promises of employment security, formal dispute resolution systems, and a democratic organizational culture. These work systems not only boost productivity and employee job satisfaction, leading to reduced interest in union representation. Companies have also become much more adept at keeping out unions, not only through progressive human resource management methods but also through more aggressive and sophisticated union-avoidance practices.

essay技巧_critical essay怎么写_expository essay範例Besides that, Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed numerous laws relating to other employment areas, such as pension plans, family and medical leave, and the portability of health insurance. It is widely considered that these laws and attendant agencies, courts, and attorneys have to some degree served as a substitute for unions, thus also explaining a portion of the union decline in the late twentieth century.

essay技巧_critical essay怎么写_expository essay範例By 1999 only a seventh of US workers were union members, and in an effort to attract new members, particularly from the service sector, unions have placed increased emphasis on special benefits they can offer members, such as low‐cost credit cards, legal aid, travel discounts, and health‐ and child‐care.

Comparing and Conclusions

Looking at the history of industrial relations of both the countries, it seems that with the industrial revolution came the labour issues regarding pay, working condition and health and safety. Workers’ union, employers, and government were in constant battle, in this process there were lots of reforms in the employment act and collective bargaining in both the countries. However, the differences in these two development was, USA government become more hostile towards unionism where as in UK, with the raise in the power of labour party , Trade union prosper , till the conservative government of Margaret Thatcher reduces the power of trade union by breaking it down.

USA in 1960s and 1970s , had raise on service industry, which brought the new concept of personal management, in addition to this the US’s market driven economy portraits trade unions as a barriers as a result more individualistic employment relation and HR practices start taking place instead of collective unionism. During 1970s and 1980s, this new individual employment deal started comes in practiced. Highly influenced by USA’s market economy, Thatcher’s government paved the road for individualistic rather than collective form of employment relations.

Purcell & Sission (1983) with their theory of management style and employment relation gave 4 different management style Sophisticated Human Relations, Consultative, Traditional and Constitutional, these 4 dimensional of management style is based on degree of Individualism and Collectivism present in management style. Seeing from this model USA seems to have Sophisticated Human Relation having low on collectivism and high individualism, where as UK is moving from Constitutional towards US style of Sophisticated Human Resources.

With the change in time , there has been changes in employment relation and way people are managed, now with globalization and fast communication technology, outsourcing is becoming common, besides that with free movement of labour in EU, employment relation’s definition might be change in near future.. What ever the situation might be it is certain that no one system can last forever, collectivism which was the based of labour movement thought the UK history is now moving to individualism, therefore, as I see , Human resource management might come up as very strong factor for success and failure of the company.


Bennett, James, and Bruce Kaufman the Future of Private Sector Unionism in the United Statesessay技巧_critical essay怎么写_expository essay範例Armonk, N.Y.: M. E. Sharpe, 2001.

Derber, Milton. The American Idea of Industrial Democracy, 1865-1965 Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1970.

Dunlop, John. Industrial Relations Systemsessay技巧_critical essay怎么写_expository essay範例 New York: Holt, 1958.

Jacoby, Sanford. Employing Bureaucracy: Managers, Unions, and the Transformation of Work in American Industry, essay技巧_critical essay怎么写_expository essay範例New York: Columbia University Press, 1985.

Kaufman B.E. Human Resources and Industrial Relations: Commonalities and Differences."Human Resource Management Reviewessay技巧_critical essay怎么写_expository essay範例 11, no. 4 (2001)

Kochan, Thomas, Harry Katz, and Robert McKersie the Transformation of American Industrial Relationsessay技巧_critical essay怎么写_expository essay範例 New York: Basic Books, 1986.

London School of Economics & Political Science, Blackwell Publishing British Journal of Industrial Relations, Volume 45, Number 3, September 2007


工人能夠形成友好的社會和貿易會社,但立法受到阻礙。 1819六行為擴大裁判司的權力和限制會議和散發傳單。 1825年工會法“ ,允許工會存在,但不罷工,糾察,或恐嚇誰沒去罷工工人的。
1824至1825年啟用的立法組織工人進行集體談判。工程師( ASE )在1851年合并學會成立。其次是工會在一些工藝品,如木工,瓦工,和鍋爐提供的這些新型號工會計劃對疾病,失業,年老,并沒有想改變社會的性質。他們不支持罷工,而不是試圖與雇主進行談判。他們良好的組織,因為他們招募熟練的工人,資金充足。
1868年34 118,000工會會員代表在代表大會在曼徹斯特見面的交易逐漸成為聯盟大會(TUC )為中心組織工會接受。 1871年工會根據“工會法”完全合法化,工會經費免受不誠實的官員。刑法修正案(1871)在罷工期間允許和平糾察。
1890年后的非熟練勞動力的組織迅速蔓延。參與工會運動的形成,在1900年,勞工代表委員會,勞動黨的前身。歷屆議會法案使工會行動擴大自己的領域,例如, 1906年的貿易糾紛法保護工會的損害賠償金由他們的雇主,并于1908年獲得其成員八小時礦工后,工業行動。
到了1918年的工會比以往任何時候都強前800萬會員。在1919年礦工,鐵路工人和運輸工人,形成“三國同盟” ,同意采取聯合行動,如果其中任何一個工會威脅...在貿易爭端和“工會法” , 1927年的總罷工或罷工呼吁同情與其他工人被定為非法,工會會員頹然。 20世紀30年代初的經濟大蕭條時期,工會疲軟,因為雇主可以呼吁失業高興能在任何條件下的人誰是一個巨大的游泳池。
從20世紀60年代起,政府和工會之間的對抗。在1965年工黨政府成立一個皇家委員會來研究工會的作用。隨后保守黨政府工業關系法“ (1971年) ,包括工會,法律執行集體協議,強制性冷靜期,罷工的選票登記。 “就業保護法” ( 1975年)和“工會法” ( 1976年)增加了政府在勞資關系中的參與。
這時,英國工會會員已達到高峰,為13.5萬,占勞動力的54% 。然而, 20世紀80年代在工會的命運,造成嚴重的經濟壓制,朝向不佳工會的服務業經濟的轉變,小企業,兼職及自雇行業看到了一個挫銳,一個敵對的保守黨政府總理撒切爾夫人減少工會力量的一個關鍵的優先事項。因此,工會會員由1989年已經下降到970萬美元,或40 %的勞動力,工業行動而損失的工作日每年約300萬。工會會員由1996年進一步下降到790萬的水平, ,其中五分之四下屬職工大會。
上臺的工黨政府在1997年宣布,在1998年,雇主將被要求承認工會,如果最低表決贊成工會代表勞動力總數的40% 。
雖然在民主黨新新政管理規定的權利工人自由組織和討價還價統稱,美國的塔夫脫 - 哈特利法案“ (1947年) ,禁止(雇主和工會之間的協議,只有工會的成員可以被雇用的封閉車間等立法)和格里芬蘭德隆法“ ( 1959年)糾察取締相關企業的處所。
系列事件從20世紀60年代至20世紀90年代率先現時的情況,人力資源管理是受歡迎和電力工會瓦解。這并不是說有只用-t工會完全是消極的,但是。最積極的發展是公共部門集體談判的蔓延。在自由化的州和聯邦法律在20世紀60年代和70年代,工會在公共部門(政府)的覆蓋面大大擴大,從1960年的11%到2000年的37 % 。
此外, 1964年的民權法案通過了許多有關其他就業領域,如養老計劃,家庭和醫療休假和健康保險可攜性的法律。它被廣泛認為,這些法律和隨之而來的機構,法院和律師都在一定程度上擔任工會的替代品,從而也說明工會在二十世紀后期下降的部分。
賽爾Sission (1983)與他們的管理風格和雇傭關系的理論給了4個不同的管理風格,復雜的人類關系,咨詢,傳統和憲法,這4維的管理風格的基礎上的個人主義和集體主義的管理方式中存在的程度。看到從美國這個模型似乎有復雜的人類關系,集體主義和個人主義,高有低,而英國正在從憲法對美國風格,先進的人力資源。
貝內特,詹姆斯和布魯斯·考夫曼的未來私營部門的聯合主義在美國紐約州Armonk : ME Sharpe出版, 2001 。
Derber ,米爾頓。美國工業民主理念, 1865年至1965年香檳: 1970年伊利諾伊大學新聞。
鄧祿普,約翰。勞資關系系統紐約:霍爾特, 1958年。
考夫曼B.E.的人力資源和勞資關系:共性和差異。 “人力資源管理回顧11 , 4號(2001年)
科昌,托馬斯,哈利·卡茨和羅伯特McKersie美國紐約勞資關系轉型: Basic Books出版社,1986年。


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