TORONTO, June 17 /CNW/ - When politicians consider intervening in labour disputes, they should also consider the long-term, potentially unintended results of such action, according to a study released today by the C.D. Howe Institute. In "The Laws of Unintended Consequence: The Effect of Labour Legislation on Wages and Strikes," authors Benjamin Dachis and Robert Hebdon investigate the lessons from previous government legislative interventions, whether through compulsory arbitration, "back-to-work" legislation or bans on replacement workers during strikes, and find these actions have unintended results that give reason for sober second thought.
Among their findings:
- Banning strikes increases public-sector wage levels appreciably.
Legislation requiring compulsory arbitration in disputes involving
public employees has increased wages by about 1.2 percent per
- "Back-to-work" legislation reduces the likelihood of a freely settled
contract in the next round of negotiations, perpetuating the cycle of
- Bans on temporary replacement workers reduce wages, contrary to
previous evidence, and increase the likelihood and length of strikes,
as do reinstatement rights for striking workers.
- Allowing union certification only through a secret ballot decreases
the number of strikes and lowers the wage costs of unionized
This Commentary provides policymakers with a fresh perspective on their potential actions and consequences in the minefield of labour disputes. Whether governments seek to shift the balance of labour-employer power, end work stoppages or prevent them in the first place, policymakers should weigh the unintended consequences before acting.
For the study go to: http://www.cdhowe.org/pdf/commentary_304.pdf
SOURCE C.D. Howe Institute
For further information: For further information: Ben Dachis, Policy Analyst, C.D. Howe Institute or Robert Hebdon, Professor, McGill University, Phone 416-865-1904, email: firstname.lastname@example.org