Donovan Commission

Donovan Commission

the Royal Commission on Trades Unions and Employers' Associations which reported in 1968 into the state of INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS in the UK. This landmark report found that informal, uncontrolled bargaining had developed at shop-floor level alongside the existing formal system of industry-wide bargaining, leading to spiralling pay claims, unofficial STRIKES, etc. The solution proposed was the rationalization and formalization of workplace industrial relations. Employee representatives were to be given a formal role in new procedures governing discipline, grievance and pay determination. See COLLECTIVE BARGAINING, EMPLOYERS' ASSOCIATION, MULTI-EMPLOYER AGREEMENTS, TRADE UNION.
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The origins of the CIR lay in one of the major recommendations of the Donovan Commission, the Commission itself having been influenced by the evidence of Flanders (1967) who first proposed such a body.
The Donovan Commission was clear in its support of the need for a restructuring of dispute and negotiating procedures.
In his evidence to the Donovan Commission, published as Collective Bargaining: Prescription for Change, Flanders (1967) had argued the need for wide-ranging reform of the industrial relations system.
The idea of an advisory, third-party change agent was in many ways the most original to emerge from the Donovan Commission.
What the Donovan Commission proposed was to take this model and suggest that it should consist primarily of staff with research and consultancy skills rather than primarily of civil servants - and that it should concentrate on procedural, rather than substantive, matters.
The Donovan Commission seems to have believed that procedural change would not, on the whole, provoke resistance from the parties.
In the process, they evaluate several hypotheses concerning contemporay labor relations in the United Kingdom, such as whether union-management relations have become more formal and routinized since the reforms suggests by the Donovan Commission 1968 (not really), and whether new union bureaucratic forms, such as shop steward committees, make the unions more conservative and less responsive to the membership (not really).
The Donovan Commission recognized that the establishment of new levels of negotiation might prove difficult for the parties.
However, neither the Donovan Commission (although it did not emphasize the point in its Report), nor the CIR, thought that negotiating procedural change would be other than extremely difficult.