Workplace IR and Employee Relations. The Key features of the Australian IR System The Terms and the Parties. The Terms – Industrial Relations.
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Workplace IR and Employee Relations The Key features of the Australian IR System The Terms and the Parties
The Terms –Industrial Relations • The government-regulated interaction between employers and their representatives with employees and their representatives in pursuit of their respective objectives. • Alexander & Lewer 2004, p8
Industrial Relations A ‘traditional’ or old fashioned approach Focus is at the macro level, although is also involved at the micro level Emphasises the differences between mgmt and workers Encourages the involvement of unions Focuses primarily on conditions of employment Is seen as a reactive model Employee Relations Is a contemporary approach Focus is a the micro level The notion of mgmt and employees working together Sees a lesser need for unions Concerned with a broader array of issues (eg child care centres for employees Is touted as strategically directed Industrial Relations versus Employee Relations
Employer Organisations • Groups of Business Enterprises which have combined to pursue common goals
Employer Organisation Aims and Objectives • To promote industry, trade and commerce; • To promote unity of purpose and action by employers in all matters effecting their welfare and interest; • To improve relations between employers and employees; • To represent employers, industry, trade and commerce before any courts, tribunals, commissions or committees; • To represent the interests and views of employers, industry, trade and commerce at government level. There are two categories of Employer Associations!
Categories of Employer Organisations • Industry Associations: • Represent the interests of employers in a particular industry. • Example: Members of the Printing & Allied Trades Employers Federation of Australia. • Umbrella Organisations: • Usually smaller companies and industry associations join these umbrella organisations because they do not have the resources necessary to provide full industrial relations and other services. • Example: Australian Industry Group – members are from a diverse number of industries.
Services provided by Employer Organisations • Industrial Relations • Specialist who are up-to-date with laws, awards and regulations that affect businesses, such as Long Service Leave &, Workers Compensation • Bargaining power to influence the decision making processes of other parties in the IR system. • OH&S: Implementation of safety laws and procedures • Human Resource Management • Information on wages, over-award payments & Super • Training & Development: Develop and deliver training. • Commercial Services: Provide advice on Trade Practices Act • Apprenticeships: Provide indentures, training, and apprenticeship cancellation.
Unions • Associations of workers that have joined together to protect and better wages, hours of work and conditions of employment. Better wages & conditions
Unions • Unions are based on the idea that a group of workers will be stronger than individuals • Unions are seen to have a legitimate role in any democracy. • Unions are representatives of the collective interests of their membership. • Unions must be registered under relevant legislation to participate within the system of Arbitration and Conciliation.
Union Aims & Objectives • Improved Economic Conditions • Shorter working hours, increased pay, annual leave • Improved Working Conditions • Physical working conditions: breaks, amenities, safety • Workers compensation, union takes on employee claim • Security of Employment • Protection against arbitrary or discriminatory dismissal • Act of employees behalf should redundancies occur. • Affiliations • Affiliation with other bodies to provide better services • Services to Members • Welfare, legal, recreational outlets, credit unions • Political Aims
Workplace, plant or shop Employees find about unionism relevant to their jobs. A representative is elected as a spokesperson who is the ‘go-between’ management the union District or regional Sub branches and Organisers coordinate activities at an organisational level. State Branch head offices for each state, manage overall state issues Federal Consists of a representative council (elected by members) make union policy Nationally Example, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) help affiliated unions: Settle disputes Present submissions to the National Wages Case hearings Federal Union Structure
Government • Legislative Power - Parliament • Used to make, or to enact laws or statutes • Executive - Government • Is allocated to the Prime Minister and to Ministers who through the Governor-General are ultimately responsible for the execution or implementation of the laws • Judicial Power- Courts • Is given to the High Court and the systems of courts in order to interpret and enforce SEPARATION OF POWER Each ‘Power’ is generally regarded as separate. That is, those responsible for making laws do not have the authority to enforce them.
The Doctrine of Separation • The doctrine (simply put) states that each function is distinct from the other • There are meant to be three separate and independent functions • The Govt is not meant to meddle or try to influence public servants in the execution of their duties and they are not meant to influence judges in the conduct of cases before them • The Govt can change laws they don’t like • Govts can make laws prescriptive and limit the powers of public servants and judges (example mandatory sentencing)
Workplace Industrial Relations The contribution of Conflict
Pluralist Model of Industrial Relations Industrial Conflict Management Workers Mediation of Conflict Common Law of Employment Legislation and Regulations Commissions, awards and agreements Courts and orders Industrial Peace
Pluralist Approach • Often referred to as Industrial Relations. • Conflict occurs because it is inevitable. • Not all conflict is bad and there are still some common goals • There are diverse interest groups with multiple forms of loyalty • The government is regarded as an impartial guardian, whose role is to protect the weak and restrain the strong. • Conflict is resolved by rules and an impartial 3rd party ( eg: conflict resolution procedures)
Unitary Approach • Often referred to as Employee Relations, it implies that the relationship between management and employees is dominated by common, unified objectives ‘hand-in-hand’ • Conflict occurs as a temporary thing or due to aberrant behaviour, poor management or bad communications • Unions are not wanted and are judged to be in conflict with mgmt for the loyalty of their employees • Conflict is resolved through communication and participativemanagement.
LO 1. 2 A systems analysis METHODS OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION CONFLICT PARTIES OUTCOMES Enterprise Bargaining Grievance Procedures Consultation Mediation Conciliate &Arbitrate Common Law EBA’s Contracts Awards Custom & Practice Rules of Organisations Causes Forms Symptoms Measures Employees Unions Employers Employer Org Government Agencies Tribunals
Industrial Conflict • All expressions of negative feelings about the management-employee relationship which involve some action by either the employees or management. • Workplace IR Delivery & Assessment Guide 2002
Workplace IR and Conflict • Conflict can be • Inside a person • Between two people • Between a person and and organisation • Between organisations • Between organisations and a state • Between states • Between groups of states
Manifestations of Conflict • Employers and employees have a number of ways to demonstrate dissatisfaction. • These ways, manifestations or symptoms of conflict can be either overt (open) or covert (concealed). • Overt are usually manifested by group action • Covert are more usually limited to individuals.
ActivityManifestations of Conflict in the Workplace • 2 Large groups & Butchers paper • Group 1 is to identify and define examples of overt manifestations of conflict in the workplace • Group 2 is to identify and define examples of covert manifestations of conflict in the workplace. • Example: Strike: Total or partial withdrawal of labour or services of a particular group of people or employees.
Costs of Industrial Conflict • Financial Costs • Personal Costs • Political Costs • Social Costs • International Costs
Strategies to help avoid or resolve conflict • Conciliation and Arbitration • Grievance Procedures • Collective Bargaining • Consultation • Mediation
Positive outcomes of Conflict • When conflict is managed constructively it may; • Heighten awareness of problems and the need to change • Improve problem solving strategies • Raise awareness of individual differences • Increase co-operation and flexibility • Act as a team building exercise • Increase creativity in work practices and structures • Solve problems to everyone’s satisfaction
Potential Negative Outcomes • When conflict is not managed constructively it may: • Create ongoing conflict which distracts staff from their job • Affects individuals physical and emotional wellbeing • Affect absenteeism, staff turnover, morale etc. • Influence individuals to put self interest before the organisation’s interest • Divert time, energy, resources from achieving organisational goals • Hinder communication