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The Worker Unions Within the Irish Economy

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        This process of social relationships amongst the management and trade unions has benefitted both the parties. The management has derived the benefit of a controlled wage increase, thus increasing the competitiveness of Ireland in the international market (Aust, 1999). The workers, on the other hand, have received various types of social benefits, growth in terms of the rate of employment while getting ‘ real rise’ in their wages. The poor performers are also given protection to a certain extent, were the workers with a service record of more than one year are protected by the Unfair Dismissals Act (1977-2001), under which an employer is obliged to follow certain guidelines while culling a poor performer, and this act is akin to the British legislation (Wallace, Gunnigle, & McMahon, 2004).

Though, till today there are pieces of evidence of inequalities in the Irish society, this social partnership has proven to show positive results in case of Irish industrial scenario, and there has been no real decrease in the income levels as was evident in the various neo-liberal economy based countries (Hardiman, 2000). It had also helped to bring down the debts and gain fiscal control, during the period, just after the 80’ s economic recession, after social spending was limited under the guidelines of social relationship.       The relegation of the trade unions into the background during the economic boom in Ireland (1995-2008): Despite such positive outcomes there were quite strong anti-union sentiments present amongst the Irish workforce (D'Art & Turner, 2005) during the nineties, and this is evident in the low incidence of office-based partnerships with the trade unions at that time(Roche & Geary, 2000).

This situation was further aggravated with the absence of support from the formal institutions for the official recognition of these trade unions. The situation seemed unlikely to change as the foreign MNCs that had opened in Ireland, and had helped the country’ s economy to surge, preferred to function in a non – union work environment.

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