Industrial relations is a very important topic in politics, economics and business. Politically it is important because government policy on Industrial Relations tends to affect people's wages and conditions of work in the workplace. Political parties, in setting Industrial Relations policy, have to strike a balance between protecting workers pay and conditions, and assisting businesses to be more competitive in an ever-increasing global marketplace.
Economically it is important because productivity in workplaces is a very important factor that drives growth of the nation's economy. If productivity stagnates, the cost of Australia exports becomes relatively more expensive compared with other nations. The effect of this is that jobs are lost in Australia and the general standard of living decreases.
In business, industrial relations is important because IR laws affects the way businesses operate. A good example of this is the way in which pay rates and other conditions of work are negotiated between business owners and business employees. Business owners/managers have to take account of minimum pay and conditions as prescribed in industrial relations regulations. Industrial relations isn't just about pay and conditions, it is also about the manner in which all parties in the workplace i.e. business owners/managers and employees consult, negotiate and work together for common good.
So much of out time is spent in a workplace and therefore industrial relations affects our culture, our society and our way of life.