Striking right balance in labour relations (Analysis)

Employers should provide more financial details, unions should be more realistic
By Michelle Miner
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 12/05/2011

We have come a long way since the inception of “industrial relations” in Canada. Employees feel they are better protected by laws and union rights and employers are better educated in managing labour relations.

Since the 1990s, unions have successfully negotiated many new terms and conditions of employment. They have also been successful in diminishing some managerial rights and increasing union rights. Across Canada, the labour relations field has become increasingly legislated, leaving fewer issues to be negotiated between employers and unions.

As we battle the declining economy, we are facing strikes and lockouts because many organizations can no longer afford the pay rates that were rightfully negotiated between unions and employers. Through the Expenditure Restraint Act (ERA), the federal government actually rolled back negotiated wages and then set the bar for the maximum base salary increases through a “central bargaining table.”