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Industrial Relations in Ireland

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“Outline the development and evolution of Industrial Relations in Ireland

and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of its current framework.”

Presented by:

Dermot Costello

Date: 7h December 2004

Course: Bachelor of Business Studies (Management)


Subject: Industrial Relations Framework and Development

Table of Contents

Table of Contents 2

Executive Summary 3

Statement of research Objectives 4

Methodology 4

Introduction 5

Industrial relations pre-1900’s 5

Industrial relations 1871 to 1906. 6

Industrial relations 1907 to 1922. 7

The Irish State and Industrial Relations 8

The 1960’s & 1970’s 9

The 1980’s and the PRN 10

The 1990’s and The Industrial Relations Act 1990 11

Moving Irish Industrial Relations into the 21st Century 13

Advantages and Disadvantages of the current Framework 13

Conclusions 15

Appendix 16

Biblography 16

References 17

Originality 17

Executive Summary

Before the formation of the state, the industrial relation climate was extremely hostile and in some cases violent. We had the Dublin lockout in 1913 resulting in violent clashes in Dublin and even though the workers were essentially starved into submission, this resulted in the growth of Trade Unionism. Under the Irish state the government sought to regulate the trade union movement and ensure less trade unions though amalgamation and the requirement for a negotiation license. During the 1960’s and 1970’s there was industrial unrest, which was in an economic climate of high unemployment, high inflation and a high level of poverty. This economic condition continued into the 1980’s and improvement began with the Programme for National Recovery as a result of centralised collective agreement. Moving into the 1990’s social partnership continued with a number of other programmes such as the PESP, PCW and Partnership 2000. Also a number of enactments developed voluntary methods for conflict resolution such as the LRC and also provided a legislative framework for industrial action and conflict resolution. The result of this, was a downturn in the number of days lost to strike activity and economic growth. This approach is still adopted by the government today, though we still have some way to go for total social inclusion. Also trade union membership is falling off and there is uncertainty as to who could take there place at the negotiation table should they find themselves in a weakened position.


Statement of research Objectives

The objective of this project is to outline the development and evolution of Industrial Relations in Ireland and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of its current framework.


The methods used in this paper are purely secondary research.


Industrial relations commonly denote the relationship between management and employees. Trade unions, the organisations that represent employees first emerged in Dublin, Cork and Belfast during the Industrial Revolutions. Employer bodies also emerged to combat the actions of the trade unions. We will look how this developed over the last number of years.

Industrial relations pre-1900’s

During the 1800’s as the industrial revolution

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