Should the state play an active part in employment relations or are such matters best left to employers and their associations, workers and their unions?
Academic essay – Introduction, well-structured argument, conclusion and Reference List. Do not use tables, figures or diagrams as this is NOT a report. Citation and referencing in the APA style.
Minimumof 7 recently published scholarly or peer-reviewed journal articles. Your sources should be no older than 2006.
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State, in this concept, is difficult to define as it can encompass more than one factor, and many government departments and different institutions can have some influence employment relations in a variety of ways. For instance, the police and the army have been deployed in various strikes to maintain calmness and the courts have in turn made judgments which have transformed how the unions, employees, and managers relate. Additionally, the government extends some powers to some of the institutions, for example, the Low Pay Commission (LPC), and other employment tribunals. The state was defined as the government institutions which have a monopoly influence on the legitimate utilization and application of force while putting power and political influence into consideration. However, other explicit descriptions of a state have been used, and in this case in employment relation terms, state have been referred to as the elected government as well as other agencies that carry out what the government demands and implement its legislation and policies. The state should play an active part in employment relations, and such matters should not be left to the employers, their unions, workers and their associations to protect the economy of a country, set standards of employment, and prevent employees from exploitation. The state can influence employment relations by assuming the role of an employer, income, and economic manager, and as a protector.
State as an Employer
It is a long-held rule that the state, regardless of the country, should act as an employer to its citizens. In this way, the practice sends a message to the private sector on how workers should be treated while in the work environment. In response to these working conditions, the trade unions, as well as the public sector workers, accepted to work in line with the reciprocal obligation to avoid conflicts in employment relations (Loss, 2012). The idea of the state being an employer was designed to ensure that the private employers did not have an automatic cost advantage. Also, it was guaranteed that to maintain high levels of working conditions; government contracts were not assigned to the lowest bidders (Hughes & Stewart, 2013). Working conditions were set to standards so that the employees were not exploited. Also, the concept of the state being an employer also resulted in levels of encouragement for trade unions in the public sector. The motivation for membership in the unions of trade has explained the reason why such membership have remained steady in the public sector, especially in areas such as the civil service, education, the local government, as well as the National Health Service (NHS) (Hughes & Stewart, 2013).
The State as an Income Regulator
Another way in which the state can influence employment relations is by acting as an income regulator. After the Second World War ended, governments of both political interventions have had the need to increase wages, and regulate prices with a purpose to control inflation (Schofield & Caballero, 2016). Unlike the conservative states that rejected the concept of market controls publicly, they nonetheless set wages and price controls in a number of visible means. For example, they manipulated the interest rates, the money supply as well as the public spending and also controlled the speed at which real wages were increased for public sector employees (Schofield & Caballero, 2016). It is thus evident that the state should be involved in matters of employment among the workforce for the reason that at the end of the day, the government’s interest is for it people as well as for the whole country’s ability to have a stable economy (Schofield & Caballero, 2016). The state will regulate the income to avoid its currency from being weak compared to other currencies and will also ensure that it is on a competitive edge at the end of the day.
The State as an Economy Manager
The state can also influence its customer relations by managing the economy of a country. As means of intervention, state as economic manager centers around policies of its macro economy. For instance, supplying money to the market, aggregate demand, and regulations that can have an influence on how the labor market operates well as how the workforce is utilized. The state achieves these objectives through many means such as availing return-to-work incentives. The objective can also be met by availing employment exchanges, that is, those who have no employment are linked with those offering employment. In playing the role of an economic manager, the state has also taken the initiative to of encouraging mobility of labor. For example, through availing training programs with an aim to address shortages in skills in some parts of an economy. The role of an economic manager also reflects the position taken by the government on labor deco modification. In this case, work deco modification refers to the extent to which a state is willing to offer fund to protect the welfare of the employees. The practice ensures that the workers do not depend wholly on the employers for their survival especially in times of unemployment as well as economic recession periods.
The State as a Protector
Another equally important role played by the state in influencing employment relations is by playing the role of a protector. The state ensures the function of a protector by coming up with minimum standards of employment that are adopted by all employers (Durai, 2010). If the state were not involved in such matters, the employers would ensure that they obtain profits regardless of the working conditions of the employees (Hadad, 2015). For example, in the year 1920, an act that abolished the employment of women, children, and young person act was established the basic conditions of safety and health. The bill also ensures that people are paid equally regardless of race or gender (Durai, 2010). Such a scenario helps the employees to feel the influence of the government on the protective measures regarding their workplaces and their terms of work. Evidently, citizens will be at ease when the government protects them from abuse by their employees and as such, they will work efficiently in their respective jobs.
Additionally, the state should provide protective incentives that will protect workers from abrupt employment termination. As such, the government of Australia has put efforts to provide Australian apprenticeship incentives that help SMEs to secure their compensation(Australian Government, 2015). Furthermore, the program is focussed on the increasing skills as the public populace engages in the Austarlian Apprenticiship programs. Also, by doing so, the government will be taking part in the enployment relationship through protecting the employees financially.
In conclusion, if other unions, associations, and other agencies especially whose members are the employers were left to influence employment relations without the intervention of the state, all acts would be inclined to seeing that they reap profits, cheap labor, at the expense of health and safety statutes of the employees (Schlunze, 2012).
The State as a Legislator
The last and equally weighty way in which the state can influence employment relations is by playing a role as a legislator and rule-maker. The state can achieve this purpose by seeing to it that good labor relation is realized by identifying sanctions taken against employers who flout the set-out rules and regulations (Schmidt, Shelley & Bardes, 2009). The state also outlaws certain practices, for example, racial discrimination and child labor in employment (Schmidt, Shelley & Bardes, 2009). It is thus evident that the impact ad role of the government in labour relations cannot be undermined.
In conclusion, the state can influence
employment relations by assuming the role of an employer, income, and economic
manager, and as a protector. As an employer to its citizens, the state sends a
message to the private sector on how workers should be treated while in the work environment. As an income regulator,
the state prevents its currency from being weak compared to other currencies
and will also ensure that it is on a competitive edge. Additionally, the state
can be a manager of an economy by providing employment exchanges, that is,
those who have no employment are linked
with those offering employment.
Australian Government. (2015, July 1). Summary of the Australian Government Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Programme. Retrieved December 20, 2016, from Australian Apprenticeships: https://www.australianapprenticeships.gov.au/publications/summary-australian-government-australian-apprenticeships-incentives-programme
Loss, C. P. (2012). Between citizens and the state: The politics of American higher education in the 20th century. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Hadad, N. F. A. A. A. (2015). Working women and their rights in the workplace: International human rights and its impact on Libyan law. Farnham [u.a.: Ashgate.
Schofield, N., & Caballero, G. (2016). State, Institutions and Democracy: Contributions of Political Economy. Cham: Springer International Publishing.
Hughes, G., & Stewart, J. (2013). The Role of the State in Pension Provision: Employer, Regulator, Provider. Boston, MA: Springer US.
Schlunze, R. D. (2012). Spaces of international economy and management: Launching new perspectives on management and geography. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
Durai, P. (2010). Human resource management. Chennai: Pearson.
Schmidt, S. W., Shelley, M. C., & Bardes, B. A. (2009). American government and politics today, 2009-2010 edition. Australia: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.