Industrial relations talk to Bakewell Probus Club

Bakewell Probus Club learned about industrial relations from one of its members.

Ian Johnston spoke about the history of the trade union movement and drew on his personal experience from the days when he was a member of the Civil Service.

It was with the Industrial Revolution that workers joined forces to create the first trade unions. Their aim was to improve the working and safety conditions in factories and other places of work. Initially, these bodies were outlawed until 1825 but thereafter they became accepted as legitimate

organisations. Over time, their influence and power increased to such an extent that by the 1960s and 1970s the question was being asked, “Who rules Britain — the unions or the Government?”

This was the time at which Ian joined the Department of Employment and worked on a number of initiatives to improve the industrial relations between employers and their workers. He was involved in drafting much of the industrial relations legislation for several years and played a senior

role in ACAS (The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service). In 1985 he was appointed finance director of the MSC, a position which he held until he left the Civil Service to pursue a new career in higher education.

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