Workplace Cooperation at Aughinish Alumina
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Workplace partnership and mutuality have attracted multiple meanings and benchmarks for success or failure. For the purpose of this chapter, a useful evaluative benchmark for robust and successful labour–management partnerships in practice is embedded in pluralist workplace governance regimes institutionalizing integrative mutuality that mediate, trade off and bargain the tensions between efficiency, equity and voice in employment relationships on a long-term basis. While employers will typically prioritize an efficiency and competitiveness agenda, successful cooperation requires balancing this with equity (decent employment standards and fair treatment) and independent employee voice (employees have a meaningful say in decisions affecting them) (see Budd 2004). There need be no assumption of equal gains/power between employers and workers (unions) or industrial democracy in capitalist workplaces, but there needs to be meaningful re-distribution of decision-making power and workers (unions) have to have real independence from management. An implication of this is that partnership mechanisms involving trade unions tend to be more robust and facilitative of pluralist mutuality than non-union employee representative (NER) arrangements, which are often associated with limited institutional power-sharing and independence from management (Cullinane et al. 2014; Dobbins and Dundon 2013).
KeywordsCollective Bargaining Industrial Relation Direct Supervision Union Representative Union Official
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