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Title: Developmental changes in industrial relations and industry : their impact on human resources management
Authors: Cachia, Enzo
Keywords: European Union -- Malta -- Membership
Industrial relations -- Malta
Labor market -- Malta
High technology industries -- Malta
Service industries -- Malta
Issue Date: 2015
Abstract: This study highlights changes which have occurred in Malta since the island submitted its application to join the European Union in 1990. Its focus on the transformation of industry serves as a background for a critical evaluation of developments in the industrial relations system, and the changes in attitudes and behaviours of trade unions, employers and workers. Joining the EU was a long process. This research highlights four important flashpoints in Maltese industrial relations scenario. These were influenced by the Maltese political situation, until the island became a full EU member in 2004. To comment on and analyse these developments, a qualitative survey was carried out among ten past and present stakeholders, who at some point in time were either directly or indirectly involved in industrial relations. The data emanating from the survey indicates that participants share the same opinion on a number of issues, such as life-long learning, and the adoption of a different negotiating approach. However, in some cases, interviewees give their own subjective interpretation of how industrial relations have evolved over time, and how the actors started to adopt a more consensual and conciliatory approach. The transformation throughout the past twenty-five years has not been limited to industrial relations. A shift has occurred in the Maltese labour market towards a more high-tech and service-oriented industry. This has led to a number of manufacturing industries, set up as branches of transnational companies, to close down and relocate to countries with a lower labour cost. Today, high-tech industries with smaller workforce have contributed to make union penetration more difficult than was the case a few years ago. This has forced the trade-unions to adopt a more cautious approach. They are aware that relocation, as a result of globalisation, gives the employer more leverage when it comes to negotiations. Another factor, besides globalisation, which has weakened the unions’ bargaining power, is individualism among the workforce. The labour market in the globalised economy makes higher demands for skilled people. This may be one of the reasons why there is more need for retraining and reskilling of workers. This study also emphasises how Malta can reach the European Commission target of having 62.9% of the population in employment by 2020. Among other aspects the study takes into consideration other measures to encourage more women to join the workforce. It also refers to possible shortcomings in the legislation regulating employment and industrial relations, and how they can be addressed. Finally, on the basis of the changes of the past twenty five years a few recommendations are made to trade-unions, employers and employees with the aim of improving human resources management.
Description: B.WORK&H.R.(HONS)
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - CenLS - 2015

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