Consultation at Work: Regulation and Practice

Overview

The practice of consultation between senior managers and employee representatives has a long history in British employment relations yet has often been overshadowed by discussions on collective bargaining. In the last few decades, the importance of consultation has been elevated by two main trends: the decline in trade union membership and the retreat from collective bargaining in the private sector on the one hand, with the result that consultation may be the only form of collective employee voice available; and...

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Overview

The practice of consultation between senior managers and employee representatives has a long history in British employment relations yet has often been overshadowed by discussions on collective bargaining. In the last few decades, the importance of consultation has been elevated by two main trends: the decline in trade union membership and the retreat from collective bargaining in the private sector on the one hand, with the result that consultation may be the only form of collective employee voice available; and the programme of legislative support for consultation by the European Union since the 1970s on the other.

The book charts the meaning and development of consultation in the twentieth century and explores the justifications for the practice. It shows how EU intervention to promote consultation evolved and changed, paying particular attention to the adoption of the Information and Consultation of Employees (ICE) Regulations, which became fully operational in enterprises with 50 or more employees in 2008. Analysing the half-hearted response to EU consultation initiatives by the social partners in Britain, it provides a critical assessment of successive UK governments' handling of the issue. Drawing on the authors' empirical research in twenty-five organizations, the book closely examines the take-up and impact of consultation regulations, and explores the processes involved in effective consultation.

Consultation at Work looks at the dynamics of consultation and draws a contrast between "active" consultation of the type envisioned by the EU, and more limited consultation used as a means of communication. Discussing the UK experience in comparative perspectives, it asks what has to happen for the take-up of consultation to improve and suggests the changes that should be made to the EU Directive and UK ICE Regulations.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199605460
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 12/29/2012
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Hall is Professorial Fellow at the Industrial Relations Research Unit, Warwick Business School, University of Warwick. He previously worked on the TUC's head office staff throughout the 1980s. He has written extensively on the legal regulation of employee representation. He acted as a consultant to the European Commission, 1990-1, working on the European Works Councils Directive and revision of collective redundancies Directive, and to the Department of Trade and Industry, 1997-2001, advising on the UK implementation of the EWCs and information and consultation Directives. He co-edited European Works Councils Bulletin, 1995-2006. and is co-ordinator of UK input to the European Industrial Relations Observatory. His research interests include the legal regulation of employment relations, EU and British employment law policy, European Works Councils, and employee information and consultation.

John Purcell is a specialist in the management of employment relations and HRM with a particular interest in business strategies and the way they impact on employees' attitudes and behaviour and affect performance. He is an active researcher and has led research teams looking at HRM and performance, performance related pay, mergers and acquisitions, the role of line managers, the use of agency workers and the management of change. His latest research with Mark Hall focussed on the practice of collective consultation and the impact of the law in this area. Following 14 years as a University Lecturer at Oxford University, he worked for 12 years as Professor of Human Resource Management at Bath University before moving to the Industrial Relations Research Unit at Warwick Business School where he is now an Associate Fellow. He has written or co-authored 7 books and over 50 academic papers. He is an Acas arbitrator and a Deputy Chairman of the Central Arbitration Committee.

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Table of Contents

1. Consultation at Work: Competing Agendas, Differing Expectations
2. Justifications for Consultation
3. Legislating for Employee Consultation: the Significance of EU-level Regulation
4. Half-hearted Regulation in the UK
5. The Take-up and Impact of Statutory Consultation
6. The Practice of Consultation
7. The Dynamics of Consultation
8. The Future of Consultation
Appendix

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