Merriam Webster defines Industrial Relations as the dealings or relationships of a usually large business or industrial enterprise with its own workers, with labor in general, with governmental agencies, or with the public.
If you have picked up a paper any time in the past 6 – 12 months, you could be forgiven for thinking that industrial relation is the trade off between wage increases and the mythical productivity increase.
Yet industrial relations is both more and less complex than that.
On the simple side, it could be mum or dad looking up a modern award to make sure that their child is getting paid the right wage for the job that they are doing.
On the complex side of things, it could be presenting your position at the appeal of an unfair dismissal complaint to the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission.
With talk of the Fair Work Commission, Unions, Modern Awards, and Enterprise Agreements you could be forgiven for thinking that you need a university degree to understand it all.
If that is you, I have some good news for you.
If you can read a book, you can start to make sense of industrial relations.
Don’t let the fact that the book is the Fair Work Act itself scare you, because I am here to help you understand it.
And who knows, with a bit of luck, hearing the words union and entry permit won’t cause you to break into a cold sweat.