The Year for Industrial Relations

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With 2009 being the year where many businesses were looking for HR professionals with strong Employee Relations experience to deal with downsizing and restructuring, many in the market are hoping this year won’t bring a repeat performance. In fact the signs from many sources in the market is positive, and from recent news it does appear that the economy is through the worst of it.
That said 2010 seems to be displaying all the ingredients for a year of industrial unrest. This year will see a sharp squeeze in public spending, many private companies still dealing with the hangover of the recession, and also it appears a new mood of militancy with trade unions.
Recently we have seen British Airways cabin crew and airline undergo tense talks and a Christmas truce, with the 12 day strike being stopped by the High Court. In addition we are now seeing more and more unrest in the rail industry with Bob Crowe, the leader of the RMT union forecasting that 2010 will be a “year of action.”
With public spending being squeezed this year, job losses and reorganisations seem inevitable, as government funding will be reduced. Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, says his union will stand up for its 1.4 million members and the essential jobs they perform.
So 2010 may see one where the economy starts to climb out of recession but for many, especially the public sector, a tough and unsure one. Changes in government will also bring uncertainty for many in this sector. We would like to hear your views on how the year could look from an industrial relations perspective. Are you in an HR role which could see you working on such demanding issues?

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