The key question being addressed in this paper is whether, and/or to what extent, new production, organisation and industrial relations initiatives, approaches or systems have been introduced in the Irish economy. The research for the paper was
One of the Canadian government's planned measures for the reform of industrial relations, announced in Oct 1976, was a program to improve the quality of working life through worker participation. Reasons for the introduction of such proposals, & their consequences, are explored. These measures are best understood as a strategy for motivating workers to show greater concern for employers' interests. Unions were not included in the proposals of the human relations movement, but are now included in current worker participation proposals. Full employment, since World War II, has proven detrimental to capital's interests by reducing the utility of fear of unemployment as a basis for discipline. Both wage controls & worker participation were introduced as a response to falling corporate profits. Job enrichment & similar proposals actually serve capital's interests by producing a more flexible & smaller labor force, which is also more compatible with current technical innovations. Union participation in management decisions is best viewed as a strategy for subordinating organized labor to the interests of capital in situations where organized worker resistance has been present. The case of the Canadian postal service, Post Canada, illustrates this. Work reform in the actual interests of workers ultimately implies a socialist revolution. W. H. Stoddard.