People - Employer Employee Relations

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Emma Rudd
People and Organisations
Employer-Employee Relations ­ Text Book
Introduction
An employer-employee relation is a wide-ranging term covering a number of aspects of
the relationship between workers and management. Key elements of this relationship
include
Negotiations about pay and working conditions
Communication between management and employees
Employee participation in management decisions
Policies for improving co-operation between management and employees
A general approach designed to minimise conflict between the two parties.
Individual and Collective Bargaining
Collective bargaining entails negotiations between management and employee
representatives, usually trade unions, over pay and other conditions of employment.
Collective bargaining can only occur id the employer recognises the right of a trade
union to act on behalf of the workforce. Under a collective agreement the terms
negotiated by the employee's representative are binding upon the entire workforce.
The Employment Relations Act which can into force in 2000 states that any union with a
membership exceeding 50% of the employees within any particular business can demand
union recognition and thereby the right to collective bargaining. If a union has 10% it
can call for a ballot and needs the support of 40 % of employees to be successful.
The use of collective bargaining in the UK declined for a number of reasons;
During the 1980's and 1990's trade union membership in the UK declined, as a
consequence the influence of unions waned allowing businesses to move away
from collective bargaining more easily.
Governments have passed legislation designed to restrict the power of trade
unions and allow labour markets to operate more freely, thereby discouraging
collective agreements.
Over the last 40 years governments have introduced legislation granting basic
protection to employees (from unfair dismissal, from sexual and racial
discrimination, and given them a right to redundancy payments). Individuals can
seek to protect the position by taking their cases to industrial tribunals rather
than relying on the support from their trade union.
Employers have introduced strategies that emphasise and reward individuals and
teams. This represents a change of approach from collective employer-employee
relationships conducted through trade union officials.
Individual Bargaining
The adoption of the principles of human resource management has resulted in many
enterprises seeking to make the most effective use of each and every member of the
workforce. This has had 2 main consequences;
1. Instead of paying a standard wage or salary to every worker carrying out a
particular role (as would have been likely under collective bargaining), individual
bargaining means that workers may be paid according to their contribution. This
may reduce labour costs of a business and has potential to provide financial
motivation for employees.
2. The other side to individual bargaining is that some businesses seek to develop
their employees to encourage them to make the maximum possible contribution to
the performance of the business.
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Other firms have simply chosen not to recognise trade unions in the hope of being able
to keep wage increases and costs to a minimum without upward pressure of collective
bargaining. Individual bargaining is most common when employees have substantial skill
levels and the ability to negotiate their own pay and conditions.
Many employees in the UK have their pay determined by one of two systems;
1.…read more

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Flexible employees are cheaper Communication is tricky with flexible
because firms avoid many of the costs workforces. More employees,
of full time employment (such as unfamiliar to one another, with
pension contributions). Wages are also different patterns of attendance make
generally lower. This makes the firm it difficult to pass on information.
more price competitive, which may be Formal and informal communication is
important in an increasingly global poorer causing lower quality customer
market. service damaging the firm's image.…read more

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through work councils then it is less likely that employees will turn to a union for
assistance.
Quality Circles / Kaizen
Quality circles are groups of workers who meet regularly to identify methods of
improving all aspects of the quality of their products. They consist of employees from
within all levels of the organisation who assemble to discuss company problems and
possible solutions.…read more

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preparation to give employees the necessary skills and confidence to enjoy their new
roles. Team working can be best established and encouraged by a democratic form of
leadership, and effective two-way communication.
Advantages of Team Working Disadvantages of Team Working
Team working offers shop floor Team working often results in early
employees the opportunity to meet retirement of redundancy of middle
Maslow's higher needs, thereby managers, who have considerable
improving quality and productivity. experience of the business.…read more

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