1- Introduction of Contemporary Developments in Employment Relations Assessment Activity Assignment Sample
Employee disputes represent the inevitable workplace situation that requires substantial attention to reduce the emerging conflicts (Zhang et al., 2020). Ignoring employees' concerns and developing issues can increase the business cost. Workplace disputes can occur because of a distinct culture, values, priorities, and backgrounds. Conflicts can be generated between the employees and employers. Human resource management and enterprise managers play the role and intervene to resolve the issue before it escalates higher and creates an adverse impact on the business culture and productivity (Kwong et al., 2021). One of the concepts that could lead to conflicts within the workforce is indeterminacy. Indeterminacy presents the idea that the labour contract does not inculcate or objectively define the capacity of effort to be contributed by the employees in exchange for rewards (Collin and Terry, 2010). This further leads to explains that the employees must complete the assigned work to them with high effectiveness and efficiency, regardless of how much work is given to them. In this regard, the case study is developed, which is comprised of the employee disputes and resultantly transfer to strike actions against the individuals. The case study of industrial relations is created to discuss the prominent issue and significant causes.
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The United Kingdom contains legal rights and regulations against employment rights. The employment act (1996) entails significant information regarding employee benefits, working conditions and contracts established to maintain the relationship (Charalampous et al., 2019). Businesses and industries are obligated to fulfil the requirement of employees to make the working environment flexible and productive. But various industries have been encountering the prominent issues of employee disputes due to increasing inflation and decline in wages. Trade union workers and cleaners were arguing with the sector to upsurge the employee wages due to the persistent rise in inflation, which has hit hard the economic situation. The prominent example of GMB Trade union congress demonstrates the major emerging disputes which resultantly force the employees to strike against the prevailing situation. GMB is one of the biggest unions. The enterprise also experienced the identical issue of employee disputes which later became industrial disputes and generated major disturbances as employees were striking against policies and lower wages. The company is recently involved in more than ten strikes due to prevailing unethical practices and wage rates for employees.
The particular case is GMB, which is a general trade union in the UK having more than 460,000 members. The members of GMB work in different sectors and industries, and the objective of this organisation is to make sure that the employees are given their rights, along with being provided with the right business environment and atmosphere to work, focusing on various aspects. The case describes how GMB has also been facing the issue of low wages and participated in the strikes taking place, as a protest against the minimum wage policy. Industrial policies and inflation have been identified to be the major external factors that have influenced companies to maintain a low-wage level for employees, and this has emerged to be a major issue for employees working in various sectors of the UK.
The employees went on a strike and were involved in protests to raise their voices against the policies developed by the company. The employees gathered together to protest and this eventually had a positive impact on the industry, influencing it to amend its policies related to wages. The industry was aware that the strike could adversely affect the sector as there will be no work taking place, and the losses incurred because of this could be much more than the wages asked by the labour. The response was immediate and the concerns of employees were catered.
More than 42 employees of GMB Company were involved in the disputes because of the below-inflation wages. Global financial crises lower the employee wage growth rate, which has become stagnant in recent years. GMB Company was attaining a higher position and contained a remarkable growth rate across the globe, but industry regulations provided lower and restricted salary packages which forced the employees to strike against the company. In contrast, the other enterprise also encountered the same issue and participated in the strike. The overall situation creates major inconsistencies and negatively influences the citizens and working life of the individuals in the state because employees were striking to obtain sufficient salary packages (Wall, 2022). Employee relations are a crucial process for an organisation that includes both formal and informal aspects to sustain the long-term relationship. Employers are obligated to provide competitive market salaries to workers in a safe culture and workplace environment. But the given scenario of employee disputes represented that employers did not give importance to employees' developing conflicts and demands, which later caused the strike actions against the industry regulations (Chang, and Cooke, 2018).
UK industries possessed strict laws and regulations for employees, particularly after the bank crash. Industries failed to acquire the decided national threshold to offer salaries to union workers. The deduction in pensions and lower salary packages were the primary reasons for the strike. The higher inflation and restraint in employee wages pushed the industry to maintain a lower rate which caused higher struggles for a lot of people in the state (Wright et al., 2018). The outcome of the strike was positive, which forced the industry authorities to re-allocate the funding and augment the employee wages to compete against the inflationary spiral. Employee and employer relations are implied to follow the legal rights and obligate to fulfil the industry requirements to decrease the chances of occurrence of uncertain events which influence the business operations and productivity of the industry. The present case study shows the employee disputes, which later transmitted into industrial disputes. According to Obiekwe and Eke (2019), lower disputes and conflicts among the employees enhance employee morale and productivity. Impactful human resource management is required to listen to employees' inquiries and manage the complications in the business environment. The present case shows the inefficiency of industry laws in managing operational activities. Both companies and employees were protesting against the industry in the UK to raise employee wages, which can contribute to enhancing the standard of living. The dispute developed major challenges for the state but also forced the lawful agencies to modify the approaches to maintain the situation and accomplish the industry benchmark of wages (Shaturaev, 2022).
The industrial action was official for the given case study of UK employee disputes because more than ten strikes were running in the UK by the union workers. A significant proportion of employees and trade union workers was observed in the strike, which backed the strike. The strike was organised adequately with the exclusion of unfair dismissal and actions of individuals to make it peaceful for the environment. According to Vandaele (2018), industrial activities is usually initiated by the trade union workers by following rules and guideline to perform the act in a peaceful environment. Workers are intended to follow the developed show by the government. The official industrial actions establish the conditions which can be managed by the authorities as workers follow the protocols of the strikes.
In contrast, the unofficial actions are majorly comprised of risk and uncertainty. The measures are not protected by the union companies and comprehend non-disciplinary actions. The employee strikes, walk-out and rallies are prominent examples of unofficial industrial actions. The unofficial strikes from the employees do not provide support and benefits to employees (Ludlow, C., 2020). The present case study demonstrates the official industrial actions.
Boutron et al. (2019), conflict represents the disagreement between the employee’s opinions and actions. The approach is considered a natural phenomenon among individuals because of having adverse distinct backgrounds and values. In addition, priorities to personal goals and expectations also lead to developing conflicts. Examples of conflicts that take place at the enterprise are discrimination, dissension, micromanagement, unequal distribution, and bullying. The higher interdependencies and inconsistent behaviour due to communication problems also contribute to developing conflicts in the workplace. Indecisiveness is promoted in an organisation because of the worker's conflicts and disagreements on a specific issue. To overcome the problems, organisations are implementing several tactics to reduce conflicts and provide a peaceful environment.
According to Okolie and UDOM (2019), misbehaviour is comprised of the actions which depart the employees and management to attain the goals and objectives of the enterprise. Employee misbehaviour can develop severe issues such as harassment, fraud, incivility, and sabotage. These actions are usually considered the intentional act of the employees to obtain the benefits for self-interests. The behaviour impacts the individual actions and forces them to violate the ethical practices of the organisation and societal norms. Individuals perform the act to gain higher benefits which consequently raise the firm's cost to recover the loss or massive crises. Employee misbehaviour can possess the capacity to conduct unethical acts deliberately and work for personal gains. The intentional damage can be developed, such as defamation through social sites or sabotage of business property.
With regards to official action, it could be identified as a business activity or response that is taken publicly and the consequences are evident in it. The official action is well communicated by the employers, and the results of it are evident as well. On the other hand, unofficial action is something that a company does without disclosing it publicly. The necessary activity takes place to attain the required results, without the firm accepting that it has been involved in a certain measure. Conflict takes place in a company when there is a difference of opinion, and this may take place between employees or the management. When two parties disagree on something, it creates a conflict between them, wanting to go in a certain direction that is not acceptable to the others. On the other hand, misbehaviour is when a person interacts and behaves with others in the wrong manner. It could be considered as the actions that are considered wrong in a society in terms of moral and ethical aspects.
The union employee strikes in the UK possessed a lower intensity as compared to the industrial disputes which emerged in the 1970s and 1980s. The employees follow the official industrial actions while protesting against the lower wages and higher inflation rate. According to Vandaele (2018), trade union workers follow the sanctions and traditional methods under the trade union act of 2016. The actions and sanctions provided by the government are usually changing due to persistent changes in the global business environment and provide the authority for sit-down strikes. The British industrial actions in 1980 were intense and attempted to close business activities. The strike was formulated by the union workers and the national coal board of the UK against the developing disputes. Subsequently, the industrial actions in the 1970s also established to acquire higher wages and union rivalry. The strikes represented unofficial industrial actions that also incorporated political interference. Millions of workers stopped working in the enterprises, which damaged the economic situation (Lyddon, 2018). The current strikes in the UK involve a lower number of employees who are participating in strikes in different locations. Soaring inflation and insufficient wages fall the standard of living and develop a struggling environment. Union membership was at the peak in the late 1970s, and reached to over 13 million. While this reached out to a high number, this again fell dramatically in the 1980s when Thatcher took on the trade unions, and introduced different policies and strategies to strengthen the economy. Thatcher focused on restructuring the economy and this eventually led to major changed being made for the employee and company relations as well. The unions have been of immense benefit to the employees as they have been striving to ensure that the employees could attain what they need and require. The members of union considered support from them so that their rights could be protected and secured.
Indeterminate nature of employment relation
Some of the recent organisations of the world have been more focused on the standard as well as non-standard contracts with employees. Along with this, it can be seen that some contemporary organisations of the world have been involved in the non-standard contract in their delivery services. Non-standard contracts with the employment in the delivery of the product included dynamic relationships of the employees. It mainly observes that the employment relationship is indeterminate or insufficient. The employment relationship in TESCO is mostly lawful to connect among employees and the organisation in an effective way. It usually exists when an individual serves a service or profession under specific requirements in recovery for compensation. Nonetheless, industrial connections are mainly linked with trade mergers, coordinated bargaining and walkouts, while “human resource management and employee relations” are noted as being regarding addressing links with separate workers. According to Kelly (2005), the philosophy mostly linked with industrial connections is an enormously limited one that, is feasible and does not judge its authorised branch on employment linkages. Employment connections are distant from being exclusively about business coalitions and cooperative bargaining, regardless. It is likewise regarding work industry, the character and scope of administrative hierarchies and authority configurations, which have a deep sense for personal growth, fitness and a nation’s social finances stock.
Factors that affect employment relation
Some recent studies claim that employees of the world are more and more inclined toward the legal and standard code of a company. Along with this, in case a company failed to construct an effective legal framework for the employees that provides efficient rights and standard wage. In this regard, it cannot be exaggerated to say that the legal protection regarding the right of employees and certainty of standard wage can affect employment relations. Some scholars think contemporary employees are more and more concerned about their rights and willing to get a standard wage so in case a company is failed to provide effective protection to them then their trust in the behaviour of a company is adversely affected. It is likewise essential to see the significance in the job of innovation in arranging out the latest work open doors and additional developing workers' haggling power in similar esteem. For instance, in the present day, the “ information communication technology (ICT)” area usually utilises millions of individuals, worldwide. Some internal factors, which are influencing employment relationships, are understood to be industrial-specific elements that mainly impact employees and the hierarchy in the workplace. It also recognises the strength of union workers, administrative commitment and firm culture as the major internal elements influencing industrial connection among employees and employers.
Conflicts and misbehaviours
Conflicts mostly originate from disputes that are not decoded between firms and workers. Conflicts in most of the circumstances result in walkouts, rallies, go-slows and negative worker manners that divert the standard working strategies at employment (Thanh, et al. 2022). On other hand, Misbehaviour is mainly understood as deliberate averse behaviour on worker behaviour. Moreover, Misbehaviour is a consequence of absenteeism, fraud, delinquency to work and robbery among others.
Official and unofficial industrial actions
Industrial actions mainly occur whenever industrial union partners are in controversy with their firms which may not be decoded through negotiation. Official industrial actions mainly understood that the company union has endorsed or authorised the action in an effective way. In TESCO, this also nourishes workers taking official industrial action at the lowest tier of protection. Employees are having extra protection if the organisation's action is safe and secure (Lyddon, 2018). Apart from that, Employees who are implicated in unofficial industrial action contain no safeguard at all. Moreover, unofficial industrial actions are mainly understood as organisations that are not taking industrial action which are mainly not managed by, and are not accountable of, any employment union. The organisation has no privilege to mainly claim clearance if workers are discharged while participating in any kind of action in the workplace.
Type of conflicts and industrial sanctions
In the contemporary business environment, conflicts are a part of business life that is occurred in various industries of the world. Sometimes, it can be seen that conflicts between employees and employers have occurred due to economical reasons. Along with this, sometimes it can be also seen that some conflicts have occurred due to non-economical reasons such as conflicts regarding health issues of the employees and the rights of the employees. Along with development particularly in economising, it has directed recent modifications and characteristics in international competitive circumstances, dissolution of mediation between employees and firms, additionally adjustable compensation strategy, workers distribution and workshop association and industrial connections in both materialised and growing nations. Development has positively controlled industrial connections in advanced nations with diverse kinds of market economising. There are two crucial visions that must be distinctly demonstrated, development and organisational relationship. Apart from that, there are various sorts of elements that are relevant to technology, finance and human relations which are mainly accountable for these modifications in an effective way. Cyber security also plays an essential part in the advanced trends of organisational sanctions and conflicts.
Skills for effective grievance and dispute-handling procedures
With the digitalisation of the system, the consumers, as well as the employees of various companies around the world, have been raising the demand for the online platform for grievances as well as dispute redressal. In this regard, it is required for modern organisations to provide proper training to the employees regarding the platform because before it they are not handling grievances as well as disputes in an online environment (Gao & Liu 2022). Sometimes, it can be seen that a communication gap among the employees that have filed complaints against the company or any grievances regarding the right of consumers is able to adversely affect the dispute handling procedures. In this regard, it cannot be exaggerated to say that in case an organisation is able to provide an effective communication platform and implement the such platform in a better way then there is no doubt that it can improve the performance of the dispute handling procedures. Along with this, sometimes it can be also seen that due to the large size of the organisation, some grievances redressal departments of the organisations have many complaints that cannot be fulfilled within promised day. In order to avoid such delays in resolving disputes, such organisations need to transfer the disputes to their respective department.
Third-party conciliation, mediation, and arbitration
Sometimes it can be seen that conflicts occur between the employees and the employers and going with the mentioned legal process of resolving conflicts required more and more time. In this scenario, it can be seen that in case the employees go with the legal process then it requires more time that can affect the performance of the organisation as well as can adversely affect the business process and reputation of the organisation. Arbitration conducted when mutual consideration has taken place. In this case, both parties are required to concede the role of mediators. Third-party conciliation is also effective for the reconciliation process as both parties believe in the rationality and judgment of the same. Arbitration taking place in section 33(1) of the Arbitration Act of the UK indicates the role of thor parts and their involvement in the mitigation process (Pender et al. 2019). It has been found from the different states that the role of the mediator could be effective if both the litigants allow informing all the crucial information to the mediator. The Arbitration Act in the UK is operated by the Arbitration Act of 1996 which stands for establishing a consolidated society for reducing business litigation in the country. Since its inception, it has strived to lower the rate of litigations in the country by speeding up the process of conciliation.
4- Advice, guidance, and further support
Human resource manager Advise
Human resource plays an important role in resolving the organisational issues and conflicts which prevails between employees and employers (Zhou, Fan, and Son, 2019). But it is witnessed that human resource managers remain incompetent to manage crises due to a lack of communication with employees. The crucial consequences reached the peak level, which declined the human resource manager’s ability to control the issue at a critical stage. But the situation can be managed at a certain level by adopting effective approaches to guide the managers. HR faces numerous issues when operating in the company, and each of these concerns have to be handled and managed in their own effective way. HR critically evaluates the situation of the company and the issues prevailing in the long run, and these are further communicated with the management to make sure that they could be resolved by forming an inclusive approach. Even though a number of different issues could take place in a company, it is the work of HR to make sure that people related concerns are mitigated in an effective way, and they are stopped from escalating (Gomez et al., 2019). Conflict arousal between diverse groups could be one of such issues that may take place in the firm, and HR could prevent such instances from taking place by developing adequate policies related to inclusivity. If there is a zero-tolerance policy in the company against discrimination and bias, the individuals would restrict themselves from being involved in any such cases.
Training and Development programs
The human resource management of the company must provide the training regarding the conflict management situations with impactful tools and equipment to become active and attentive in the organisation. The observant behaviour can enable the managers to assess the organisation's situation and employee behaviour which can be used to prevent the emerging negative crises. Training also enhances the manager’s personality and boosts confidence level to perform the role effectively and manage the workplace issues (Milner, McCarthy, and Milner, 2018).
Employees' Laws and Acts
It is the duty of the manager to keep updating the workforce regarding the implemented laws and regulations of the industry to spread awareness. The amendments in legal rights and the company's policy-related information are also given to prevent uncertain actions and disputes. The provision of such information enhances employees' knowledge and avoids the unequal distribution and unfair treatment misconceptions.
Managers can develop productive relationships with employees by the inclusion of technological equipment and tools. Managers can quickly collect employee feedback or provide an open communication platform to discuss issues and queries which are disturbing the workplace environment. The real time data and quicker responses from employees can enable the management skills to maintain business culture and value in the market.
Roles of External Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration Services
Third party conciliation or external conciliation contains no rights and legal standing related to the occurred event. It follows the formal process with the least compliance and prefers to maintain the data in confidentiality. It is intended to emphasise the relationship highly and is used in a critical situation in the case of a tribunal claim. The lack of finality and informal process increased the risk factors.
Mediation is widely used in the developing stages of disputes and possesses higher flexibility than arbitration. The process also stimulates less formal actions against the conflicts to resolve the issue and concentrates highly on the results. It involves both parties agreeing on a particular condition and attaining a higher level of satisfaction, but the major disadvantage of the mediation is the discovery process and legal precedents.
Arbitration emphasises the legal process to control the outcome of the dispute and make the situation favourable for all candidates. The method is implemented in crucial dispute conditions when the parties are no longer involved to decide the results and follows good terms and conditions. The pre-arrangement of documents and confidentiality are maintained during the whole process. But the prominent disadvantage of the trait is the decision-making process which does not incorporate the explanatory statement (Nkosi and Mahlako, 2020).
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