Industrial relations isn’t just about collective bargaining any more

By David Brown
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 04/12/2001

Just as flexibility quickly becomes the mantra of successful businesses, so too it should describe successful labour relations. Two sides sitting across the table from each other and milking whatever they can out of the other is slowly, very slowly passing into history.

“There’s a general shift to labour relations becoming part of overall HR strategy, rather than isolating industrial relations in a world on its own,” says Peter Warrian, professor of industrial relations at the University of Toronto.

In the hyper-competitive global market, nobody, neither the union nor the employer can afford the damages inflicted by labour discord, says Tom Knight, an associate professor of industrial relations at the University of British Columbia.