Any which way but loose: social partnership and the law in Ireland
Doherty, Michael (2003) Any which way but loose: social partnership and the law in Ireland. In: Sociological Association of Ireland (SAI) Annual Conference 2003, 25-27 April 2003, Ballyconnell, Ireland.
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This paper seeks to assess the experience of the social partnership era in Irish industrial relations (IR). It will focus on the implications for unions and IR actors generally of the distinctive mix of voluntarism and institutionalisation represented by the social pacts, where a ‘problem-solving approach designed to produce consensus’ has been adopted, and an open-method of coordination, emphasising ‘soft’ regulation rather than hard law has been preferred to a Continental approach relying on laying down specific rules and procedures.
Section 1 explains how Irish IR actors have attempted to shift from the Anglo-Saxon model of IR to a more Europeanised model, highlights the legal position of Irish trade unions and outlines briefly the form and content of the SPAs (Social Partnership Agreements) to date. Section 2 will then show how the SPAs represent a new form of public policy making and administration, based on ideas of soft law and deliberative democracy. Finally, we will look at the implications of this for unions and the Irish IR system.
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