OTTAWA, Jan. 23 /CNW Telbec/ - Globalization is dampening militancy in
Canadian industrial relations, leading to a new pragmatism and more open and
conciliatory lines of communication in 2008, according to the Conference
Board's annual Industrial Relations Outlook.
"Globalization, competitive pressures and union job preservation concerns
will force labour and management toward greater cooperation," said Prem
Benimadhu, Vice-President, Governance and Human Resource Management.
"In this business environment, employers will be focused on achieving
productivity improvements. Unions will not want to put companies at a
competitive disadvantage and risk job losses."
Other factors behind this more conciliatory tone at the bargaining table
- Canada's ever tightening labour market. Employers are willing to pay
for increasingly scarce talent. They expect to provide wage increases
of 3.1 per cent to unionized employees in 2008. Unionized public-sector
workers will receive higher wage increases than private-sector workers;
- Record-level corporate profits, especially in Western Canada. Companies
are in a better position to offer healthy wage increases and generous
benefits for talent.
However, the suffering manufacturing and export sectors will face
difficult bargaining in 2008. Employers will seek changes designed to reduce
costs substantially. Unions will be anxious to protect jobs, as well as
benefits and pensions for their aging members. This could make negotiations
more difficult in these sectors in 2008.
The report, Industrial Relations Outlook 2008: Opening the Lines of
Communication, is based in large part on a roundtable with industrial
relations leaders held in late 2007.
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