S-Cool Revision Summary

S-Cool Revision Summary


This is the process of resolving an industrial dispute by using an independent person to decide the appropriate outcome. The arbitrator will look at the arguments put forward by both parties, and then he will arrive at a decision. The decision can be legally binding on both parties if this was agreed prior to the arbitrator's decision.

Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS).

This was set up by the government in 1975 as an independent body that helps to settle industrial disputes and claims of unfair dismissal by employees. As the name suggests, there are three main services that are offered by ACAS - advice, conciliation and arbitration.

Collective bargaining.

This is when a trade union negotiates with the management of a business on behalf of a large number of employees.  The negotiations cover aspects of employment such as pay, working conditions and working practices.


This is one of the services offered by ACAS in an attempt to get the two sides in an industrial dispute to resolve their differences. A conciliator listens to the arguments of both sides, and then tries to encourage the trade union and the employer to negotiate and compromise so that they can reach a solution that is acceptable to both parties.


This involves the management of a business asking for the views of the employees who will be affected by a decision.

Human Resource Management (HRM).

This is the management and welfare of the personnel of the business. It includes the recruitment process, training and development of employees, and termination of employment. 

Individual bargaining.

This is the opposite to collective bargaining. It involves a business negotiating with each individual employee over their pay and conditions of employment, rather than negotiating with the workforce as a whole.


This is the training that an employee receives when he joins a business. It is designed to familiarise him with his new job and with the procedures and systems of the business (e.g. health and safety, and organisational structure), as well as make him aware of the products and services that are provided by the business.

Industrial action.

This refers to the actions that can be taken by a unionised workforce during an industrial dispute, in an attempt to reduce or cease the output of the business. The most common examples of industrial action include strikes, work-to-rule policies, and overtime bans.

Industrial dispute.

This is a disagreement that arises between the management of a business and the trade union that represents the employees, over such issues as pay rises, working conditions, and new working practices.

Industrial relations.

This refers to the level of co-operation which exists between the management of a business and the trade union which represents its workforce.

Industrial tribunal.

This is a small court which deals with claims of unfair dismissal and discrimination from employees against their (former) employers.

Labour flexibility.

This refers to the ability of a business to vary the jobs and the tasks which are carried out by their employees, using such strategies as job rotation and multi-skilling.

Labour turnover.

This measures the number of employees who leave a business per year, expressed as a percentage of the total number of people employed

Pendulum arbitration.

This is a type of arbitration in which the arbitrator will decide completely in favour of one party or the other, with no compromise or negotiation being allowed. It is likely, therefore, that both parties (the employers and the trade union representatives) will make their demands more conservative and realistic than if the arbitrator was allowed to choose an outcome which was somewhere between the two.

Performance appraisal.

This is the process of measuring the effectiveness of an employee, often using it as the basis for a promotion or a pay rise. The appraisal is usually carried out by the immediate superior on a one-to-one basis, although other appraisal techniques are very common (including self-appraisal, peer appraisal or appraisal by one's subordinates). The whole process should highlight the employees' strengths and weaknesses, and also indicate those areas which the employee needs to concentrate on in order to improve his performance.

Performance-related pay (PRP).

This is a method of giving pay rises on an individual basis, related to the employee achieving a number of targets over the past year.


This is the relationship between the inputs that a business uses (e.g. raw materials, labour) in order to produce its output (e.g. products). The most common measure is labour productivity, which is calculated as output per worker.

Trade union.

This is an organisation consisting of a large number of workers who combine together to protect their interests in the workplace. The workers each pay an annual membership fee to join the trade union, and in return the union will negotiate on their behalf on such issues as pay, working conditions and new working practices.

Unfair dismissal.

This occurs where an employer terminates the contract of employment of an employee for a reason that is against the law (e.g. pregnancy, ethnic background, or gender). If an employee believes that he has been unfairly dismissed, then he can take his employer to an industrial tribunal, which will rule on whether the dismissal was unfair or not.

Worker participation

This refers to the participation of workers in the decision-making process, asking them for their ideas and suggestions.

Works council.

This is a type of worker participation and it consists of regular discussions between managers and representatives of the workforce over such issues as how the business can improve its processes and procedures.