By Sid Kessler, Fred Bayliss (auth.)
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Additional info for Contemporary British Industrial Relations
Its chairman for most of its life, Aubrey Jones, and its first secretary, Alex Jarratt, set the tone for its positive role, and in the field of industrial relations in its early years it had the benefit of Hugh Oegg as a Board member and Allan Flanders as its adviser. Apart from its substantive achievements, it pioneered new methods of enquiry. The NBPI built up a substantial staff with seconded civil servants forming the admininstrative basis and specialist teams, consisting originally of economists, industrial relations experts and statisticians, who were soon to be joined by accountants and management consultants.
Industry-level agreements should be confined to those matters which they could effectively determine, while plant and company bargaining should be recognised and formalised. The objective was the development of authoritative collective bargaining machinery and comprehensive procedural agreements at plant and company level. The responsibility for this should rest with the parties themselves, although the prime responsibility lay with top management since they had the final power. However, to help the process the Donovan Commission proposed that larger organisations should register their agreements with the Department of Employment and Productivity, and that an independent Standing Commission should be established to facilitate the voluntary reform of collective bargaining.
Those who had wanted substantial legal changes, such as restrictions on unofficial strikes and the legal enforcement of collective agreements, were disappointed. Unions were not on the whole dissatisfied (particularly as restrictive legal measures had not been proposed), whilst employers' reactions were somewhat mixed. The Government's response was contained in its White Paper, In Place of Strife (1969}. It accepted most of the analysis of the Commission and its conclusions, including the immediate establishment of a reforming Commission on Industrial Relations (CIR) as a body to promote collective bargaining 14 Contemporary British Industrial Relations and good industrial relations on a voluntary basis.
Contemporary British Industrial Relations by Sid Kessler, Fred Bayliss (auth.)