Track 5: Employment Relations in the Public Sector

The public sector refers to the part of the economy concerned with providing various government services. The composition of the public sector varies by country, but in most countries the public sector includes such services as the military, police, public transit and care of public roads, public education, along with healthcare. At its most basic level, public economics provides a framework for thinking about whether or not the government should participate in economic markets and what the extent of its role should be. More and more pressure is placed on governments all over the world to create job opportunities in addressing unemployment in a country.

The public nature of the various services rendered by government makes it particularly vulnerable to strike action. How do governments ensure equal treatment given the vast variety of occupational and other sectors accommodated within the public sector workforce? What models of performance management are appropriate when considering the special nature and varied contexts of the public sector? What institutional mechanisms, including dispute resolution structures and legal techniques, can be introduced to prevent strikes from arising and to manage industrial action in the public sector? How should a government deal with the possibility and actual occurrence of large lay-offs in the public sector in times of severe fiscal constraints and an overly large public sector? What does all of this mean for appropriate bargaining frameworks? Has the strong unionisation of the public service created a more perplexed environment?

  • Given the background, the Congress is particularly interested in contributions covering the following themes:
  • The implications of the increasing power of public service trade unions
  • Disputes and strikes in the public service: Strategies for prevention
  • Collective bargaining in the public service: Identifying the most appropriate bargaining structures
  • Incorporating performance evaluation and service delivery into public sector collective bargaining
  • Remuneration in the public service: Equal treatment and the prevention of under-payment and over-payment of different sectors in the public service
  • Appropriate legal techniques for the regulation of the public employment relationship