Labour Relations Manager

Labour relations managers and officers, also known as industrial relations specialists, implement industrial labour relations programmes. When a collective bargaining agreement is up for negotiation, labour relations specialists prepare information for management to use during negotiation, which requires familiarity with economic and wage data as well as an extensive knowledge of labour law and collective bargaining trends.

Dispute resolution has become complex, involving employees, management, unions, other firms, and government agencies. Specialists involved in dispute resolution must be highly knowledgeable and experienced.

Industrial relations specialists also need to act as mediators by advising and counselling labour and management to prevent and, when necessary, resolve disputes over labour agreements or other labour relations’ issues. They may also act as arbitrators, umpires or referees, and decide disputes that bind both labour and management to specific terms and conditions of labour contracts. Labour relations specialists who work for unions, perform many of the same functions on behalf of a union and its members.

In South Africa, a human resources director usually formulates labour policy, oversees industrial labour relations, negotiates collective bargaining agreements, and coordinates grievance procedures to handle complaints resulting from disputes with employees who are members of a union. This is done either with or without the help of a labour relations manager, officer or outside specialist.

Industrial relations managers and officers also advise and collaborate with the director of human resources, other managers, and members of their staff, because all aspects of personnel policy such as wages, benefits, pensions and work practices, may be involved in drawing up a new or revised contract with a labour union.


  • government departments

  • municipalities

  • mining companies

  • commerce and industry

  • self-employment, e.g. as an employment agent

Getting Started

  • speak to a labour relations manager or officer about this type of career

  • develop an interest in the labour laws of the country

  • pay special attention to labour law cases in the media

  • try to get a holiday job in a human resources department of a large organisation


Abm University College, Africa Nazarene University, Alliance International University, Archbishop James University College, Bindura University of Science Education, Boston City Campus & Business College, Botswana College of Distance and Open Learning, Buffalo City TVET College, Capricorn TVET College, Catholic University of Eastern African, Central Johannesburg TVET College, Coastal KZN TVET College, CTU, Durban Computer College, Eastcape Midlands TVET College, Ed-U City Campus, Egerton University, Ehlanzeni TVET College, Ekurhuleni East TVET College, Ekurhuleni West TVET College, Esayidi TVET College, Flavius Mareka TVET College, Gaborone University College of Law and Professional Studies, Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, Gideon Roberts University, Goldfields TVET College, Great Zimbabwe University, ICESA City Campus, Imperial School Of Business and Science, Ingwe TVET College, Institute of Applied Sciences, Institute of Development Management, International Training College ? Lingua (ITCL), International University of Management, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (Tanzania), Kabarak University, Karatina University, Kenneth Kaunda Metropolitan University, Kibabii University, Kigali Independent University, King Sabata TVET College, Kirinyaga University College, Kisii University, Labour College of East Africa, Labour Resource and Research Institute (LaRRI), Letaba TVET College, Lovedale Public TVET College, Lyceum College, Majuba TVET College, Makerere University, Maluti TVET College, Management College of Southern Africa (MANCOSA), Mangosuthu University of Technology, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Mnambithi TVET College, Moi University, Monash South Africa, Monitronic Success College, Motheo TVET College, Mount Kenya University, Mulungushi University, Murang'a University of Technology, Mzumbe University, National University of Lesotho, National University of Science & Technology, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Nkangala TVET College, Nkumba University, Northern Cape Urban TVET College, Northlink College, North-West University, Open University of Tanzania, Orbit TVET College, Pearson Institute of Higher Education, Pwani University College, Regent Business School, Riara University, Rongo University College, Rosebank College, Rusangu University, Sekhukhune TVET College, South Cape TVET College, South West Gauteng TVET College, Southern Business School, St. Augustine University of Tanzania, Strathmore University, Swaziland College of Technology, Team University, Technical University of Mombasa, The Eastern University, Thekwini TVET College, Trinity University, Tshwane North TVET College, Tumaini University Makumira, Uganda Catholic Management and Training Institute, Uganda Christian University, Umfolozi TVET College, Umgungundlovu TVET College, University for Development Studies, University of Botswana, University of Cape Coast, University of Cape Town, University of Dar Es Salaam, University of Fort Hare, University of Ghana, University of Iringa, University of Johannesburg, University of Kabianga, University of Kigali, University of Lusaka, University of Mauritius, University of Nairobi, University of Namibia, University of Pretoria, University of Professional Studies (Upsa), University of Rwanda, University of South Africa, University of Stellenbosch, University of Swaziland, University of Technology Mauritius, University of the Free State, University of Zambia, Vaal University of Technology, Varsity College, Victoria University, Vuselela TVET College, Walter Sisulu University, West Coast TVET College, Zambia Catholic University, Zambian Open University, Zenith University College

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