Trade Unions and Collective Bargaining


The objective of this module is to provide learners with an overview of trade unions in Ireland; their development, structure, role and purpose. There will be an emphasis on the political, organising and collective bargaining activities of trade unions. The module will also introduce industrial relations theory and institutions and provide learners with the opportunity to experience industrial relations in practice.

On completion of this module you should be able to:

  • Describe the origins and growth patterns of trade unions in Ireland.
  • Explain the purpose, structure and functions of trade unions, including their political, organising and collective bargaining roles.
  • Trace the development of industrial relations in Ireland including dispute resolution and pay bargaining institutions.
  • Participate in devising union strategies and anticipating outcomes in a given situation.


Wallace, J., Gunnigle, P., McMahon, G. & O’Sullivan. M. (2013) Industrial Relations in Ireland. 4 th. Edition, Dublin: Gill and Macmillan

Here’s something you might be asked to do in an assignment in this module:

Write a brief report outlining how you participate in your trade union’s bargaining activities

This is a core module in the Trade Union Studies Certificate programme worth 10 credits. It will be offered once every two years in each fixed location either by way of ten 3-hour night classes; 5 full day classes or a combination of each.