The Institute provides a range of research work for employer, employing and employee organisations as well as government departments about the relationships between employers and employees, workplace rights and consultation. Key clients in this area of IES’s work include Acas, the Low Pay Commission, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, BIS, and some European and international institutions, such as the European Commission, the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions and the International Labour Organisation.
Our employee relations work programme covers the following main themes:
- employee rights at work, including employees’ understanding of their rights and experience of upholding those rights through the Employment Tribunal system and other mechanisms. Key projects in this area include:
- a literature review for BIS, to try to understand the behaviour and decision-making of employees in handling conflicts and disputes at work
- a qualitative study for Acas, to understand the experiences, attitudes and approaches to collective and individual dispute resolution of public sector employers, with attitudes towards Acas collective conciliation as the focal point of the research.
- IES is collaborating with the Universities of Manchester and Brighton to hold a series of seminars on fairness at work funded by the ESRC. IES will host one of six seminars scheduled to run in 2010-11 covering themes including pay, diversity, health and safety and employee voice at work with a range of speakers including IES staff, and national and international academic experts.
- a qualitative study exploring the experiences and views of employees who had been involved in sexual orientation and religion or belief employment tribunal cases, carried out for Acas in 2006.
- pay and conditions of employment, including research into the impact of the minimum wage and equal pay legislation, employees’ working time, and workplace arrangements such as flexible working. Key projects are:
- research for the Low Pay Commission, carried out by IES in 2006/2007, into the ways in which firms have made organisational changes, including changes to systems of incentives and rewards, in response to any compression of pay differentials following the 2005 uprating of the National Minimum Wage (NMW). IES also undertook research looking at the specific sectoral and regional effects of NMW upratings.
- a study for the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, Dublin, which examined wage formation and wage developments in the EU27 member states, multi-employer and single-employer bargaining, wage drift, minimum wages, and pay in the IT sector (2009).
- employee involvement and consultation, partnership working, consultative mechanisms and trade union relations. Key projects in this area include:
- an evaluation of the Health and Safety Executive’s worker involvement initiative, which aims to train new employee health and safety representatives, and improve joint working between representatives and line managers in organisations that already have employee health and safety representation.
- an evaluation of Acas’s Workplace Projects initiative, aimed at improving employment relations within workplaces by involving employers and employee representatives in joint problem solving and joint working.
- an evaluation of Acas’s Pre-Claim Conciliation Service (PCC), which aims to identify workplace disputes between employers and employees that may become employment tribunal claims, and resolve them effectively before they enter the tribunal system. The findings of this evaluation show cost and time savings to both employers and employees involved in this pilot and a net financial benefit to the taxpayer.
- a project for the Health and Safety Executive looking at the different approaches to the management of health and safety relating to leadership and worker involvement on the Olympic Park and Athlete’s Village.
Key contacts for employment relations: