There is also increasing analytical work being done on the typologies of individual employment relationships as indicators of types of labour relations systems.
Even the more classic portrayals of labour relations systems are not by any means static characterizations, since any such system changes to meet new circumstances, whether economic or political.
The phrases labour relations and industrial relations are also used in connection with various forms of workers participation; they can also encompass individual employment relationships between an employer and a worker under a written or implied contract of employment, although these are usually referred to as employment relations.
There is considerable variation in the use of the terms, partly reflecting the evolving nature of the field over time and place.
The term labour relations, also known as industrial relations, refers to the system in which employers, workers and their representatives and, directly or indirectly, the government interact to set the ground rules for the governance of work relationships.
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It also describes a field of study dedicated to examining such relationships.In addition, public sector and private sector employers are governed by separate legislation in most countries, with the rights and protections of employees in these two sectors often differing significantly.Moreover, the private sector is influenced by forces of international competition that do not directly touch public-sector labour relations.Traditionally, four distinct types of workplace governance have been described: dictatorial, paternalistic, institutional and worker-participative; this chapter examines primarily the latter two types.Both private and public interests are at stake in any labour relations system.Traditionally, labour relations systems have been categorized along national lines, but the validity of this is waning in the face of increasingly varied practices within countries and the rise of a more global economy driven by international competition.Some countries have been characterized as having cooperative labour relations models (e.g., Belgium, Germany), whereas others are known as being conflictual (e.g., Bangladesh, Canada, United States).The globalization of the market economy, the weakening of the state as an effective force and the ebbing of trade union power in many industrialized countries pose serious challenges to traditional labour relations systems.Technological development has brought changes in the content and organization of work that also have a crucial impact on the extent to which collective labour relations can develop and the direction they take.Finally, neoliberal ideology favouring the conclusion of individualized employment contracts to the detriment of collectively bargained arrangements poses another threat to traditional labour relations systems.Those systems have developed as a result of the emergence of collective representation for workers, based on past experience that an individual workers power is weak when compared to that of the employer.