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International Agencies Conference Cape Town, South Africa October 2008 Northern Ireland Presentation by Bill Patterson Chief Executive Labour Relations.

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Presentation on theme: "International Agencies Conference Cape Town, South Africa October 2008 Northern Ireland Presentation by Bill Patterson Chief Executive Labour Relations."— Presentation transcript:

1 International Agencies Conference Cape Town, South Africa October 2008 Northern Ireland Presentation by Bill Patterson Chief Executive Labour Relations Agency

2 Background to Northern Ireland Labour Market NI Population – 1.7m Economically active - 783,000 Economically inactive - 538,000 Activity rate % (NI) – 78.9% (UK) Unemployment - 4.5% (NI) - 5.2% (UK) Self employed - 16% Public sector – 235,000 employees (32%) Private sector - 514,000 employees Micro/small business >50 – 205,000 employees Employees 57.2% in micro/small firms

3 The State of Dispute Resolution Northern Ireland Assembly Government review of Dispute Resolution Pre-consultation completed April 2008 Formal consultation period January-March 2009 Revised legislation expected

4 The State of Dispute Resolution Current Issues (1) Repeal the statutory three steps process Abolish fixed periods for conciliation Introduce short LRA Code of Practice Introduce comprehensive LRA Guidelines Expand LRA Statutory Arbitration to all relevant jurisdictions Introduce appeal to LRA statutory arbitration to an EAT or the Court of Appeal

5 The State of Dispute Resolution Current Issues (2) Expand LRA dispute resolution services to a full menu of mediation processes Provide the LRA with statutory protection for staff delivered mediation techniques Increased resources for LRA enquiry point Simplify tribunal claim and response forms Address multiple claimant cases Encourage active case management by tribunals

6 Collective Bargaining Trends (1) Overall NI trade union density 35-40% (UK 25-30%) Public sector – high trade union density 60-70% Private sector – low trade union density 20-25% NI Manufacturing – 50% of collective conciliation cases Retail – up to 10% of collective conciliation cases Transport – up to 5% of collective conciliation cases Average 25% of cases relate to conditions of employment Average 25% of cases relate to general pay claims Average 10% of cases relate to trade union recognition disputes Average 40% are miscellaneous

7 Collective Bargaining Trends (2) Review of Public Administration – major restructuring of the public sector in Northern Ireland Public sector pay Equal Pay Flexible Working Pensions Burden of regulation on small firms NI/ROI land border – variance in implementation of European Directives

8 Effects of the Global Economic Downturn (1) NI – least affected region in the UK – so far NI – starting from extremely low base economically and socially Housing market collapse - NI house prices dropped by 30% Increase in enquiry point – redundancy calls Redundancies – estate agents and solicitors

9 Effects of the Global Economic Downturn (2) Confidence in pensions reduced Consumer confidence low Social housing programme offsetting private collapse Local retail – cross border shopping Manufacturing output increased by 3% Manufacturing productivity growth higher by 2.1%

10 Impact of the Changing Nature of Work NI skills gap - for high level jobs Net out migration of indigenous young people Expansion of ICT and financial services jobs Need for higher qualifications/skills Generating high number of low level jobs Net in migration from Europe covering low level jobs Flexible working and impact on small firms 50% of jobs occupied by women (26% full time and 24% part time) Changing expectations of working life from emerging generation


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