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    The association of a labour organisation (trade union or trade union grouping) with a larger umbrella or 'blanket' labour organisation (trades union grouping). Examples of this would include the membership of national unions into the national centre/federation (trades union congress/council), and the membership of national unions or federations into international federations such as the ICFTU and the ITS's. The smaller organisations which relate to the larger 'blanket' organisation are known as the 'Affiliates'.

    Agency Shop

    An industrial relations situation where all employees who fall under the bargaining unit must pay dues to the union, whether they are members of the union or not. The 'dues' paid by the non-member is known as the 'agency fee'. In some countries, the non - member has the right to make the payment to a charity of his/her choice and not to the union.


    A way of settling disputes by the use of a third party. This method of dispute settlement is different from that of conciliation or mediation, in that decisions arrived at are binding on the parties to the dispute. Arbitration may be of two types - voluntary and compulsory.

    With voluntary arbitration, the disputing parties, recognising that there is an impasse, agree among themselves to the use of a third party of their choice, with a view to finding a solution. In this form of arbitration, the arbitrator is usually selected from a list of well-known, competent and neutral persons. In some countries, legislation may permit for the parties to refer the matter to the state for arbitration.

    In the case of compulsory arbitration, the disputing parties, on reaching an impasse, are bound, usually by legislation, to subjecting this dispute to an arbitrator. In most cases of compulsory arbitration, the arbitrator is a tribunal or industrial labour court.


    Balance of Payments

    A country's record of all the transactions which take place in a year between itself and all other countries. It records the import and export trade of the country and this is done under the headings of "visible trade" and "invisible trade". Visible trade relates to the exchange of actual goods, while invisible trade is the exchange of such items as services and capital flows (investments, etc.).

    Bargaining Agent

    In an industrial relations context, the bargaining agent is that trade union organisation which has the right to represent workers' interests at a particular workplace. To become the bargaining agent, the process entails:

    Organising (mobilising) the workers;
    Communicating with management, the union's intention to represent the workers and obtaining such permission (seeking and obtaining recognition);
    Submitting proposals to management, for the basis of a collective agreement; negotiating the collective agreement;
    Policing the collective agreement; and
    Representing the workers in disputes with management.

    Bargaining Unit

    This group or combination of workers within a workplace who are eligible for trade union representation. Such a grouping is usually determined during the collective bargaining exercise, and will be indicated in the collective agreement. From time to time, bargaining units may expand or shrink.


    This is a strategic management approach which recognises that "the most effective way to implement change is by learning from the positive experiences of other organisations". Essentially, this process entails a company's study of 'top companies' in a similar line of business and with similar work processes, identifying the practices behind their success, and then adapting such practices to its own. In benchmarking, the emphasis is on adaptation and innovation as opposed to adoption and imitation. In the past, benchmarking focused more on the "benchmarks" - actual measures of comparative performance. Today, emphasis is more on "enablers" - the actual processes and activities that bring about exceptional performance and allow maximum achievement.


    This represents payments made above basic wages and salaries. Such payments may be made for shift work, working under particularly bad conditions, good attendance and at Christmas time. A specific bonus may be related to increased output and is referred to as an incentive bonus, a piecework bonus or a production bonus.

    Breach of Contract

    A breaking of the terms of the contract, or failing to meet the obligations which are imposed by the contract. Where the contract is legally binding, the breach can cause the injured party to have a right of action for compensation (damages). In cases of fundamental breach, the injured party can treat the contract as having come to an end. A fundamental breach of the contract of employment by a worker usually leads to dismissal.

    Budget/ Budgetary Proposals/ Budgeting

    This can have either of two meanings, depending from whose perspective it is viewed. An economist and government financial planner will see it one way and the accountant and business person will see it another way. The economist and government financial planner will see it as that statement by the government, which outlines its proposed revenue-raising measures, as well as its intended patterns of spending. To such a person, it is in reality, the government's fiscal policy; in that it is pursued with a view towards the effective management of the economy.

    Such budgets are usually of two types: Balanced and Unbalanced, with the main revenue-raising measure being Taxation. The Balanced Budget is one in which expected revenue is equivalent to intended spending. An Unbalanced Budget is one in which expected revenue is not equivalent to intended spending. Where expected revenue is greater than intended spending, the budget is said to be in surplus. When the expected revenue is less than intended spending, the budgeting is said to be in deficit. The deficit is usually corrected through government borrowing and the issuing of instruments such as bonds and debentures.

    To the accountant and business person, the budget is that formal statement of future plans, usually expressed in monetary terms. Such a budget may be the following types:

    Capital Expenditures/Plant and Equipment - A listing of plant and equipment to be purchased in anticipation of a proposed production programme.

    Cash - A forecast of cash receipts and disbursements.

    Manufacturing - A statement of the estimated costs for raw materials, direct labour and manufacturing overheads associated with producing the number of units estimated in the production budget.

    Master Budget - A comprehensive plan for the business that typically includes budgets for sales, expenses, production, equipment, cash, and also projected income statement and balance sheet.

    Merchandise Purchase - An estimate of units (or cost) of merchandise to be purchased.

    Production - An estimate of the number of units to be produced during a budget period.

    Sales - An estimate of goods to be sold and revenue to be derived from sales. It is this aspect of budgeting which is usually the starting point in the overall budgeting process.


    Collective Bargaining

    This is the negotiation exercise between a trade union or group of trade unions on one hand and an employer or association of employers on the other hand. It is embarked upon to reach an agreement regarding wages and other conditions of work, as well as set guidelines for the general conduct of workplace labour-management relations.

    Types of collective bargaining may include:

    Local bargaining - where one union bargains with one employer.

    Industry-wide bargaining - where one union or federation bargains with many or most of the firms in a particular sector/industry.

    National bargaining - where the union or federation bargains with the dominant employer in the society, usually the state.

    The collective bargaining exercise involves meetings between trade union leaders and employers, as well as the use of conciliation, mediation and arbitration. The principle document emanating from collective bargaining is collective agreement.

    Concessionary Bargaining

    An aspect of collective bargaining, where the nature and outcomes of the negotiations reflect requests by one party, to have the other forego prior rights and gains. It can be viewed as a situation of negotiating to "give back".


    A method of settling disputes by the use of a third party. It is a process where a third party or conciliator enters a dispute, on the invitation of the parties, to pacify parties in the hope that they will discuss differences in a reasonable and dispassionate manner.

    In most countries, the conciliator is an employee of the state, usually from the Labour Department. Generally, the conciliator makes no suggestions as to how the differences can be adjusted; his or her role is one of peacemaker and a facilitator for the problem-solving process.

    Constructive Dismissal

    A situation where an employee is forced to resign because of the employer's attitude and actions. In such cases, the employee must demonstrate that the employer acted in such a manner as to indicate that he no longer intended to be bound by any or all the terms of the contract.

    Contract for Services

    This is the case of a self-employed person, who by definition, does not work under a contract of employment/contract of service. In this employer - worker relationship, the worker is somewhat of a private contractor. As such, this worker does not enjoy those normal 'employee right', and is less controlled by the employer in the job function.

    Contract Labour

    This is the term which is generally used to refer to the various ways of employing labour other than under normal employment contract. Conceptually, it is viewed more in the nature of a commercial relationship and less of an employment relationship.

    In the case of a commercial relationship, the contractual relationship is deemed to be between independent contracting parties placed on an equal footing, neither of which is in a position vis-a-vis the other that justifies special protection by law, beyond the normal support for the principle of the sanctity of the contract.

    On the other hand, the normal employment relationship is based on the contract of employment, under which the worker agrees to perform work for and under the authority of an employer. Two other terms which are often used as synonymous with contract labour are "contracting" and "subcontracting". In some countries, these terms often carry a fine distinction, reflecting such matters as skills, white-collar functions, construction work, and the sequence of the contracting arrangement. However, the term subcontracting is more frequently used in labour law and practice.

    Contract of Employment/Contract of Service

    This is the legal contractual relationship between the employer and the employee. It is normally formed when the employer offers remuneration and other benefits to the employee, in exchange for the performance of specified work.

    The contract may be written and formal or unwritten and informal, and the terms can be expressed or implied. 'Best practices' in industrial relations, however demand that the contract be written and formal. In many cases, the 'job offer letter' is the extent of the written formal contract.

    In whatever form the contract might exist, the courts, in seeking to ascertain its legality, will seek to establish the employer's obligation to pay wages and maintain a safe system of work, and the employee's obligation to obey the employer's lawful instructions, to be faithful and honest in service, and to exercise care and skill while performing work.

    Contracting Out

    A management practice, where workers are made redundant and their jobs are given out to a private contractor. This contractor would be responsible for the provision of his own labour and other resources, which he usually brings into the firm to perform the tasks.

    Sometimes the nature of the task is such that it is performed away from the employer's premises. The idea of contracting out is associated with the concepts of "core business" activities and "peripheral business" activities.

    Core business activities as the term suggests are those activities which are central to the purpose of the business. Peripheral business activities, though they facilitate and enhance core business activities, are by definition not central to the purpose of the business. What happens therefore, is that when the business embarks on a downsizing programme, its first inclination will be shed those peripheral business activities.

    Cost of Living Allowance (COLA)

    An amount which is periodically paid to an employee by the employer, to dampen the effect of inflation. It is also referred to as a "cost of living bonus", since by design, it seeks to maintain some consistency in the level of real wages.

    In calculating the COLA, movements in the retail price index are taken into consideration. The formula for the payment of the COLA is usually the subject for discussion between the trade union and the employer. Cost of Living Index/Retail Price Index/Consumer Price Index (CPI) This is a statistical mechanism which is used to measure changes in the general level of prices of consumer consumer goods and services purchased by private households.

    An economic tool, it determines the effect of changes in prices on the disposable income of the average household, as well as how changes in the cost of living can affect wages and other negotiated prices. A statistical representation of the changes in prices, construction of the CPI entails determining the 'basket of goods" or "market basket", affixing relative weights to the various expenditure grouping to reflect spending levels, identification of a base period to facilitate comparisons, and the calculation of movements in prices from one period to the other in terms of the base period. The "basket of goods" attempts to cover the goods and services people buy for a living, converting such items as food, clothing, rent, furniture, fuel, medicines,transportations,entertainment, etc. These items are then divided into sub-components and assigned to a major expenditure group.



    An economic concept which refers to a serious and extended economic slump, characterized by declining production, high unemployment and falling wages and prices.

    In this state of affairs, some significant consequences are high rates of business failures and the collapse of financial institutions.

    The "Great Depression", which shook the economic and social foundations of North America and Western Europe in the 1930's, is perhaps the most severe depression in economic history. The United States of America was hardest hit, with massive business failures, collapsed financial institutions, and hundreds of thousands of persons out of work. Though occurring in 1929, the "Stock Market Crash" (USA) is an integral aspect of the "Great Depression". It was indeed a symptom of that "economic earthquake"


    A reduction in the value of the national currency, relative to other currencies. It is designed to improve the balance of payments situation, by making imports less attractive and exports more price competitive.

    Disclosure of information/ Sharing of information

    The sharing of critical information on the firm, particularly of a financial, economic and social nature, with the workers and their bargaining agent. Trade unions constantly call for this, since it would ensure that there is more equity in the collective bargaining process.

    This information would include: market share and market trends, sales volume, export sales, new products launched over time (roughly a two-year period), net sales, operating income, cash flow, net profits, investments, advertising costs, research expenditure, dividend payments, profit sharing payments, structure of the workforce (numbers and categories), total wage costs, total social contributions, hours worked, absentee rate, safety and health statistics, deployment of new technology and plans for new technology, and education and training statistics (planned and actual).


    A systematic scaling down of the operations (economic or social), of a private or public enterprise. It may be viewed as a 'trimming of the fat' process.

    This is pursued with a view to focusing on and enhancing those areas where efficiencies can be realized, and to abandon those, where not to do such, would be imprudent. An almost inevitable consequence of the process is the shedding of labour. Within the public sector, another consequence would be substantial reduction in welfare and other state services.


    Economies of Scale/ Scale Economies

    These are the economic advantages to be gained by a business entity, because of its operating size. In this concept, "scale" means "size". Economies of scale may either be 'internal' or 'external', and they are sub-divided into technical, administrative, financial, marketing, research, and welfare areas.

    Employee Share Ownership Plan (ESOP)

    An arrangement which provides an affordable way for employees to obtain an equity stake in the company for which they work.

    The method used is to establish a trust which will purchase shares on behalf of the employees. The funds for this activity will be borrowed from a financial institution, and the earnings from the shares will be used to pay off the loan. When the loan is paid off, the shares will be gradually released to the employees.

    Equal Opportunity Policy (EOP)

    An established workplace policy which aims to ensure that no employee or job applicant is discriminated against on the basis of sex, race, colour, ethnic or national origins, or because of conditions and requirements which cannot be justified. A corporation pursuing an equal opportunity policy is referred to as an 'equal opportunity employer'.


    Financial Statements

    A financial data report on a corporation or organization, detailing among other things, the:

    Balance Sheet - A statement showing the nature and amount of a company's assets, liabilities, and owner's equity or net worth on a given date. It is often referred to as a snapshot of the company's financial standing at an instant in time.

    Earnings Statement/Profit and Loss Statement - A statement of revenues and costs over financial period.

    Retained Earnings Statement - A record of the profits that have been kept in the business year after year.

    Statement of Changes in Financial Position - A statement of the source of funds and the use of those funds during a financial period.

    Flexitime/ Flexible Work Hours

    Flexitime/Flexible Work Hours An arrangement with management, where workers select their times of arrival and departure from work. This is usually done with an understanding that the worker will be present for a "core period" in the day and work for a specified number of hours each week or month. Dimension of flexitime are: Flexitour: An arrangement where employees select specific starting and quitting times, maintaining a full work day or a specified period. Gliding time: An allowance for variation in starting and quitting time, yet maintaining a full work day. Variable Day: A system which allows workers to vary the number of hours worked in a day without affecting the total for the overall period. Maniflex: A similar arrangement to the variable day, without a core period being mandatory for each day.



    The contemporary international economic and political reality, which is manifested in the intensification of economic activities across national borders and the integration of nation states into one 'borderless' and 'global' economy.

    The principal factors in the creation of this reality are:

    The rapid growth in multinational/transnational corporations;

    Revolutionary developments in communication and information technology;

    The partial surrendering of nations states' sovereignty to international trading and economic organizations; and

    The proliferation of economic and trading 'mega blocs'.

    From an economic perspective, the concept is seen as three - dimensional:

    Globalization of production, where for example, the components of a particular product may be produced in several countries.

    Globalization of finance, where capital is transferred across national borders with amazing rapidity and a minimum of restrictions.

    Globalization of markets - the exposure of consumers across the globe to an identical array of products from which to choose.


    This is any complaint, usually by workers against management, relating to a breach or violation of the collective agreement, the common law and legislation as they pertain to labour - management relations, or the established workplace customs and practices.

    Grievance handling as an activity is synonymous with trade union problem - solving. It is seen as one of the most dominant trade union functions, with the other being collective bargaining. As a problem solving activity, grievance handling is governed by a "grievance handling procedure". Such a procedure is usually set out in the collective agreement.

    A typical grievance handling procedure would have the following steps:

    1. The worker raises the issue with the shop steward/delegate, and they discuss it with the immediate supervisor.

    2. Failing settlement at (1), the shop steward/delegate takes up the issue with the departmental manager.

    3. Failing a settlement at (2), the shop steward/delegate takes up the issue with higher management.

    4. Failing a settlement at (3), an official of the trade union secretariat will arrange a meeting with the senior management of the company, to discuss the matter.

    5. Failing a settlement at (4), the parties will subject the disputes to conciliation, mediation or arbitration, as the industrial relations system permits.

    In many cases, industrial action may be resorted to. This at times occurs before and after step 5.

    Gross National Product (GNP)

    The market value of all final goods and services produced by a country during a given year. It can also be seen as a measure of the spending patterns of consumers, businesses and government. Because of this angle, it is also known as the national income.

    GNP or national income has a sub-division known as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). GDP is production within the national boundary, while GNP is GDP plus any production beyond the national borders, but on behalf of the country.

    Gross Profit

    Normally found in the income statement/profit and loss statement, this is the "profit" before operating expenses are deducted. It is determined by subtracting cost of goods sold from the sales revenue.


    Holding Company/Parent Company

    A corporation which has either controlling interest, or owns a significant share of a large number of diverse companies. The holding company is not always a producer of goods and services, but in many cases is a vehicle to consolidate and control capital ý corporate power. The company which is controlled by the holding/parent company is known as the subsidiary company.

    Human Resource Management (HRM)

    The management function performed in organisations, which seeks to facilitate the most effective use of people (employees) to achieve organisational and individual goals. It is concerned with the effective management of people at work; examining what can or should be done to make people both more productive and more satisfied with their working life. Some of the activities inherent in the HRM function are:

    *  Job analysis

    * Human resources planning

    * Employee recruitment, selection and orientation

    * Career development and counselling

    * Performance evaluation

    * Training and development

    * Compensation and benefits

    * Safety and health ý Industrial relations

    * Discipline

    * Work scheduling

    Jogn M, Ivancevich and William F. Glueck in "Foundations of Personnel/Human Resource Management (1986), identify the following goals of HRM: 1. helping the organisation to reach its goals;

    2. employing the skills and abilities of the work force efficiently;

    3. providing the organisation with well-trained and well-motivated employees;

    4. increasing the employeeýs job satisfaction and self-actualisation to the fullest;

    5. developing and maintaining a quality of work life that makes employment in the organisation a desirable personal and social situation;

    6. communication HRM policies to all employees;

    7. helping to maintain ethical policies and behaviours; and

    8. managing change to the mutual advantage of individuals, groups, the organisation, and the public.


    Impro Share Plan

    A time ý based productivity sharing plan, where output is measured against hours of input.

    Incomes Policy

    A national programme (usually detailed in the budgetary proposals) which seeks to impose controls on the income levels accruing to the various factors of production.

    In most cases, the incomes policy is ostensibly a 'wages freeze policy', where the emphasis is on limiting or controlling workers' wages.

    Industrial Action

    A general term referring to all the forms of collective action which may be taken by workers against the employer in pursuit of their grievances. Industrial action would include the strike or cessation of work, work to rule or giving of the minimum accepted output, and the overtime ban - refusing to work overtime. It can also cover equivalent action by management, such as the lockout or mass dismissals of workers.

    Industrial Conflict

    A collective term for the range of behaviours and attitudes which are a manifestation of the opposing and divergent positions between workers (labour) and employers (management). Opposing and divergent positions can be seen in such scenarios as:

    (a) Management wanting higher profits while the workers are demanding pay increases and better working conditions. A situation where pay and working conditions represents costs, which work against profits.

    (b) Management demanding the "right to manage" (which to the workers can mean the right for management to behave as it pleases), while the workers are fighting for the right to be treated with dignity. This will certainly lead to a clash.

    Industrial conflict is manifested in such behaviours as strikes and lockouts, output restrictions, removal of plant, labour turnover, absenteeism, autocratic supervision, unnecessary dismissals and unofficial speed -ups.

    Industrial Relations/Labour Relations

    An area of specialised study and practice which is mainly concerned with the relations between labour (the workers) and management (the employers) and the state (government institutions) as such relations relate to the industrial setting (workplace). It can also be viewed as the art and science of seeking to understand industrial conflict, and to develop rules, arrangements and institutions for its effective management. Some academics see it as being "The study of the various aspects of job regulations", while others view it as "The study of certain regulated or institutional relationships in industry".

    Also called labour and management relations, this specialist pursuit embraces the work of the trade union officers, personnel/human resources managers, labour economists, labour lawyers, mediators, conciliators, arbitrators, safety and health specialists, governmental labour specialists, and a variety of other specialists and professionals who deal with the world of work.

    An industrial relations system can be described as being of the voluntaristic type or the legalistic/regulatory type. With the voluntaristic model, there is no preponderance of legislation and state regulations to dictate workplace industrial relations. As such, labour and management to a great extent set the rules and fashion the relationships. In such a model, the collective agreement is not enforceable by law.

    In the case of the legalistic/regulatory model, there is by definition a preponderance of labour legislation and state intervention in the process. Such systems are dominated by the labour laws and labour codes as well as industrial courts and tribunals. In this system, the collective agreement is a legal document.

    International Labour Organisation (ILO)

    A United Nations (UN) specialised agency which is mandated to address labour issues. Established is 1919 along with the League of Nations, its mandate is rooted in the Treaty of Versailles, and its main objectives are to improve labour conditions, promote productive employment and social progress, and raise living standards. The ILO became part of the UN system in 1946.

    In 1944 at its Philadelphia conference, the ILO reaffirmed its mandate by adopting the Declaration of Philadelphia. This declaration states in part that labour is not a commodity, that freedom of association and expression are essential to sustain progress, that poverty anywhere is a threat to prosperity everywhere and that a war against it should be waged by all nations.

    The ILO is an unique organisation within the United Nations system, because of its tripartite (tripartism) nature. Tripartism is the practice where governments, workers (labour) and employers (capital) are joint actors in the organisationýs decision-making process.

    Among its many activities in pursuit of its objectives, the ILO is perhaps best known for the generation of International Labour Standards. Such standards are of two types: the ILO Convention and the ILO Recommendation.

    An ILO Convention is a body of minimum acceptable standards, relative to protection of workers, and the improvement of working conditions. They are like international treaties relating to the field of labour law, and they are subject to ratification.

    The ILO Recommendation, on the other hand, is a body of guidelines to assist in proper implementation of a convention. They often supplement a convention and spell out its provisions in greater detail. ILO Conventions and Recommendations are grouped under the headings:

    * Freedom of association

    * Prohibition of forced labour

    * Equality of opportunity and treatment

    * Employment and human resources

    * Labour administration

    * Industrial relations

    * Wages

    * Weekly rest and paid leave

    * Occupational safety and health

    * Social security

    * Employment of Women

    * Employment of children and young persons

    * Migrant workers

    * Plantations

    * Hours of work

    Ratification of an ILO Convention implies obligations of the state to:

    * Take such action (particularly legislation) as may be necessary to make effective the provision of the convention;

    * Consult with workers and employers in setting up machinery to give effect to the provisions; and

    * Be willing to be subjected to the ILO's monitoring systems.

    With respect to monitoring, the ILO has a rigorous mechanism in place, in the Committee of Experts on the Application and Recommendations.

    The ILO offers technical assistance to member States to facilitate the adoption and enforcement or its standards. Additionally, technical assistance is offered in employment promotion, worker and management education and training, labour administration, improving industrial relations, developing social security systems, enhancing working conditions, and the promotion of occupational safety and health and environmental awareness. It is also a printing house, providing information on a constant basis, in both printed and electronic formats. Apart from the Secretariat in Geneva, the day-to-day work of the ILO is also executed by ILO regional and sub-regional offices located in North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, Africa and Asia.

    International Monetary Fund (IMF)

    The IMF is a one of three main institutions created by the Bretton Woods Agreement (1944), the other two being the World Bank or International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which was replaced by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in January 1995.

    The IMF was specifically created to act as a monitor of the world's currencies by helping to maintain an orderly system of payments between all countries. It also provides short-term financial lending to countries with balance of payment difficulties. As such, it can be viewed as a provider of temporary overdraft facilities to countries experiencing foreign exchange cash flow problems.

    When a country joins the IMF, it is assigned a quota in Special Drawing Rights (SDR's). This is the fund's unit of account. The quota allocation reflects the country's relative position in the world economy, determines its voting strength and the amount of foreign exchange it may withdraw from the fund, as well as the quantity of SDRs it will receive in periodic allocations.


    Job Evaluation

    A systematic measurement of jobs, with a view to ascertaining their relative worth. In the exercise, jobs are measured in terms of importance, duties, responsibilities, working conditions and the value to the firm. The exercise is pursued with a view to devising sound wages/salaries and reward systems

    The four main techniques of job evaluation are:

    1. Job Ranking

    The rank ordering of whole jobs, from the simplest to the most challenging. It does not evaluate parts of a job.

    2. Job Classification/grading

    The grouping of a set of jobs into a grade or classification and the ranking of those jobs in levels of difficulty and sophistication. Each grade of jobs has a general definition differentiating it from other grades, on the basis of skills, effort, working conditions and the like.

    3. Points Assessment

    This involves the breaking down of a job into elements, and the quantifying of the value of each element. Through exercises such as interviewing job occupants and consulting job descriptions, the various compensable factors required to do a job are ascertained. These are then assigned points in varying degrees.

    4. Factor Comparison

    This is similar to the points system, in that the evaluation is done on a factor-by-factor basis. However, it differs in that jobs are evaluated against a benchmark of key points. A factor comparison scale rather than a points scale is used. Factors widely used are responsibilities, skill, physical effort, mental effort and working conditions.

    Job Security

    The trade union philosophy and practice of ensuring that workers are kept in jobs. As such, this thinking and position is foremost in any trade union interaction with other social partners.


    Labour Force

    All persons of the adult population who are engaged in, or willing and able to be engaged in the production of goods and services. It included employees, employers, self-employed persons, unpaid family workers and apprentices.

    The labour force can also be seen as the sum total of the employed population and the unemployed population.



    This is the process of intervening in a dispute between labour and management for the purpose of reconciling them. The mediator is somewhat like the conciliator, performing similar functions. However, the major difference is that the mediator, after calming both sides and achieving some understanding of the issues, may retire and emerge later with a formal plan which seeks to adjust the differing points of view. In an effort to reach an agreement, the mediator may privately meet with both sides.

    Money Laundering

    The action, whereby persons seek to channel money earned through illegimate means into formal financial and commercial activities. This ýdirtyý money may be earned through activities such as drug-dealing, bribes and organized crime, then to be ýlaunderedý through activities such as banking and the setting up of enterprises.


    Nominal Wage

    This is the money value or 'face value of the currency' wage. It simply says that a dollar received last week is the same as a dollar received this week, when taken at ýface valueý.



    The ongoing general and administrative expenses of a business. It includes such items as rent, maintenance, insurance, wages, property taxes and depreciation.


    Productivity Bargaining

    An aspect of collective bargaining, where pay and benefit demands are negotiated against improvements in productivity.

    For this type of bargaining to be effective and meaningful, it must be undertaken in an organizational climate of industrial democracy and information sharing.

    Profit Sharing

    A plan of scheme which provides workers with a bonus that is based on a percentage of company profits, or a level of profits beyond some minimum. Profit sharing is based on profitability.



    More recent decisions by the Committee on Freedom of Association reflect a more general approach:

    The requirement of a decision by over half of all the workers involved in order to declare a strike is excessive and could excessively hinder the possibility of carrying out a strike, particularly in large enterprises.

    The requirement that an absolute majority of workers should be obtained for the calling of a strike may be difficult, especially in the case of unions which group together a large number of members.  A provision requiring an absolute majority may,therefore, involve the risk of seriously limiting the right to strike.

    [Source: Gernigon, Odero & Guido (1998), ILO Principles Concerning the Right to Strike p. 29]


    Ratio Analysis

    A comparison of selective and different sets of financial data to evaluate a firmýs performance and financial condition. It is used to ascertain the level of profitability, the volume of liquidity, the debt to equity leverage, and the effectiveness of its key activities.

    Analysis is broadly under the headings of:

    Liquidity - to measure the company's capacity to pay debts as they are due;

    Safety - to indicate the company's vulnerability to risk;

    Profitability - to measure the company's ability to make profit; and

    Efficiency - to indicate how efficiently the company manages its assets.
    Some important ratios are:


    Current - current assets divided by current liabilities, to ascertain the general level of liquidity

    Quick (Acid Test) - current assets less inventory divided by current liabilities, to ascertain a more specific level of liquidity.

    Real Wage

    This relates to the purchasing power of the wage from one period to another, taking into account the effects of inflation.

    Unlike the nominal wage, the dollar received yesterday is not the same as the dollar received today. Usually, and because of inflationary pressures, todayýs dollar will purchase fewer goods and services than yesterdayýs dollar.


    This is a condition within the economy, where the level of goods and services produced remains constant or declines. Some economists define it as at least three successive quarters (nine months) with zero growth. It can be viewed as a mini-depression.

    Red Circle Rate

    This is a rate of pay which an employee enjoys, even though it is recognized to be higher than for that type of job. This situation arises out of a job reclassification exercise, where a job may be downgraded to a rate lower than that which a long-standing incumbent is already receiving to perform it.

    In such a situation, any newcomers to the job will receive the true rate. What some organizations do is to negotiate a 'buy-out' with the person already in the job. This they do by agreeing on a lump-sum payment to the worker, in return for the worker accepting the true rate.


    A situation where management deems the workers to have become excessive or superfluous to the workplace. Simply put, the jobs no longer exist.


    The stage in the downsizing process where the business entity has reached its optimum (efficient and effective) operative level. It is a reaching of the right operating size.


    Scab Labour

    Also known are strike-breakers, this is a term for those workers who continue to work when a strike or other form of industrial action has been called.

    Shop Steward/Steward/Delegate

    A trade union member at a particular workplace, who is elected by the other trade union members in that workplace, to be the link between themselves and management and the wider trade union, and even the community. The shop steward is seen as the 'frontline' of the trade union and 'the trade union at the workplace'. In some trade unions, the term 'delegate' may be used exclusively for that member who is elected to represent the others at the annual or other general congress.

    The position of shop steward is enshrined in the collective agreement. In that section, there will be words to the effect, that workers from among themselves will be elected to represent their interests before management. The section will also say that such elected workers will be called shop stewards, stewards or delegates, and that their names shall be intimated to the management in writing. Because of this formalised arrangement, the shop steward is to be accorded the same respect as the highest ranking trade union official.

    So important is the position of the shop steward in industrial relations that ILO Convention No. 135 and its accompanying ILO Recommendation No. 143 speak to the need for "protection of workers' representatives in the undertaking," and of the "facilities to be afforded them".

    Within the workplace, the shop steward performs the following roles:

    Represents the trade union, and keeps members informed on the trade union;

    Ensures that all workers within the bargaining unit are mobilized into the trade unionýs membership;

    Ensures that all members are in good standing with the trade union;

    Speaks on behalf of the membership;

    Represents the members in grievance, complaints and other issues with management

    Keeps members and union official informed about management's plans and workplace developments.

    As a National Workers Union Shop Steward you will have FOUR main duties:




    To effectively carry out his or her responsibilities, the shop steward must know among other things, the trade union; workplace membership; the collective agreement; employer's policies and workplace rules; workplace customs and practices; labour legislation; working conditions; supervisors and management, and his or her own strengths and weaknesses.

    Additionally, to be further able to function effectively, the shop steward should be knowledgeable and competent; able to guide support; just and fair; trustworthy; convincing; courageous, and a 'model employee'.

    Social Security - National Insurance

    A national social scheme which provides security for the citizens (mainly the workers) in times of sickness, maternity leave, unemployment, old age and other situations occasioned by the general hazards of life.

    Social security schemes are normally administered by the state, and are complex in undertakings. Apart from state funding, workers and employers must contribute to the scheme.

    In Saint Lucia the National Insurance Act No. 18 of 2000 and the accompanying Regulations form the legal basis for the existence and operations of theNational Insurance locally. 

    Social Security actually began in 1970 with the introduction of the National Provident Fund.  This was changed in April 1979 by the National Insurance Act # 10 of 1978 and then further modified and revised to the current one ( National Insurance Corporation Act #18 of 2000).

    Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAP's) or Econom

    Economic policies recommended by institutions like the World Bank and the IMF to assist countries in overcoming balance of payments problems, meeting debt obligations and developing a foundation for sustainable economic growth.

    The programme is embodied in the "Letter of Intent", which refers to measures aimed at reducing public expenditure, the promotion of domestic spending, export promotion, promotion of private foreign investments, a reduction in state's economic role, and the liberation of the economy through such measure as devaluation, abolition of exchange controls, removal of controls on imports, prices and distribution.


    Total Quality Management (TQM)

    An organizational management culture, where policy, functions and processes are designed and focused with a view to achieving continuous quality improvements of goods and services. Its ultimate goal is customer satisfaction.

    TQM is known by several other terms, such as Total Quality Culture, Employee Involvement, Japanese Production Management, Lean Production, Quality Improvement Process, Shared Governance and Service Excellence.

    Trade Union

    A trade union is an organisation that represents people at work.

    The purpose is to 'protect and improve people's pay and conditions of employment'. Trade unions also campaign for laws and policies which will benefit working people.

    Trade unions exist because an individual worker has very little power to influence decisions that are made about his or her job. By joining together with other workers, there is a greater chance of having a voice of influence.

    Workers have a right to join trade unions. Section 11 (1) of the Saint Lucia Constitution Order 1978 states:

    " Except with his or her own consent, a person shall not be hindered in the enjoyment of his or her freedom of assembly and association, that is to say, his or her right to assemble freely and associate with other persons and in particiular to form or belong to trade unions or other associations for the protection of his or her interests or to form or belong to political parties or other political associations".

    Trade Union (2)

    A continuous and democratic association of workers, voluntarily created by themselves to improve and protect their economic and general social conditions. Sidney and Beatrice Webb in 1920 defined a trade union as:

    "a continuous association of wage earners for the purpose of maintaining and Improving the conditions of their working lives'.

    The trade union is essentially a creature of conflict, and will always be on fertile ground in an environment of industrial conflict.

    Primarily, the trade union represents its members in determining wages and working conditions and in addressing their day-to-day problems (grievances) with management. This representation is effected through the collective bargaining and grievance handling processes.

    Generally, trade unions in a country must operate within the confines of some form of "Trade Union" legislation. This legislation will, among other things, set out the rights and obligations, and offer some insights in what form (s) the union can take. In many countries, the legislation permits for persons other than 'workers' to form trade unions. Because of this, there can be the following three broad categories of trade unions:

    Workers' Union - an association of 'workers'

    Employers' Union - an association of employers

    Professionals' Union - an association of professionals

    There are various types of workers' union, some important ones being the:

    Craft Union - a particular craft or skilled grouping

    Industrial Union - a particular industry or sector grouping

    General Union - not restricted to any particular grouping

    Company Union/ Enterprise Union - restricted to employees of a particular company


    A specific aspect of social dialogue, as promoted by the ILO, which seeks to encourage joint and collaborative relationships (particularly consultations and exchanges of information) between the social partners (government, workers and employers), on issues of common interest relating to economic and wider social concerns.

    As a dimension to the operation of the ILO, it relates to the mechanism whereby the social partners (actors within the ILO's framework) are each able to effectively contribute to its decision-making.


    Unfair Dismissal

    This is dismissal without just cause. Statutory provisions are usually in place to protect workers from this form of dismissal, since under the old English common law the employer only had to give adequate notice.

    Under unfair dismissal legislation, the employer would now have to show reason. Suitable reasons would be such as:

    relating to conduct or capability of the worker,


    breaching a statutory requirement through continuing to employ the worker, or

    "some other substantial reason(s)".

    Unfair dismissal is a concept relating more to substantive issues.

    Union Shop

    A workplace condition, agreed to between the employer and the accredited trade union, where all workers are to be members of that union. Like the closed shop, this is a controversial area. Some workers argue that the practice is correct, since other workers must not be allowed to ride on the backs of those who pay union dues. Other workers argue that it is undemocratic to force persons to join an organization.


    Value Added Tax (VAT)

    This is a sales tax on goods and services consumed, and is calculated and collected at each stage of production where value added is realized. It is essentially a final consumer tax, in that it is charged along production process, with its cumulative effect being passed down to the final consumer. This is so since intermediate consumers are able to pass it on at point of sales to final consumers and claim tax credits.

    In the case of Saint Lucia the announcement by Government is that the VAT implementation date will be September 1, 2012. The tax amount on the selected goods will be 15%. The Tourism Industry will be required to pay a VAT of 8% in the first instance with a review in April 2013..

    Some items will be zero rated and some will be exempted. The list of those items can be viewed on the Saint Lucia Government web site.


    Wage Freeze

    This is a component of an incomes policy, which is only concerned with limiting wages and other financial benefits for workers. Such a policy is highly recommended to countries by the IMF, during periods of structural adjustment programmes.

    Wrong Dismissal

    This is a dismissal in breach of contract, where the necessary contractual procedures were not adhered to. An example would be that of the management not giving the period required by law.

    Wrong dismissal is a concept which relates more to procedure.


    Zero Rated

    This term associated with the Value Added Tax (VAT) denoted goods on which the buyer pays no value-added tax although the seller can claim back any tax he has paid.

    In the proposed VAT to be implemented in Saint Lucia in September 2012 some of the "zero rated" items include medicine, cooking gas, water and electricity.

Protecting And Defending The Economic, Social, Educational, Cultural And Political Interest Of Workers
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P.O Box 713
+758 452-3664/ 758 459-0181
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