Charting the Contours of Union Recognition in Foreign-Owned MNCs: Survey Evidence from the Republic of Ireland
Irish Journal of Management, Vol. 29, No. 1, pp. 45-63, 2008
Posted: 6 Dec 2007 Last revised: 27 Jan 2010
This paper reports findings from the first large-scale representative survey of employment practices in multinational companies (MNCs) in Ireland. Using data from some 260 MNCs, it investigates the contention that foreign- and Irish-owned MNCs differ in their approach to employment relations (ER). This paper finds evidence that Irish, UK and ‘rest of Europe’ MNCs are more likely to recognise trade unions, whereas US MNCs are the least likely to do so. More strikingly, there is a growing trend of union avoidance amongst unionised companies through the establishment of new non-union sites. Differences between foreign- and Irish-owned MNCs are also apparent. Overall, the evidence supports the view that a new orthodoxy is emerging in Irish ER whereby foreign-owned MNCs are introducing home country practices that are at odds with the more traditional pattern existing in Irish-owned MNCs.
Keywords: Multinational companies, Employment relations, Trade union recognition, Double-breasting, New orthodoxy, Country of origin
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