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Managing Employee Relations

Analysis on Employer and Employees Relation Management

Introduction

The employment relationship is the behavior and communication between the employer and employee (Gomez-Mejia, Balkin and Cardy, 2004). This relationship is especially related to employees’ right and its emotional state in their jobs. In order words it can be seen as the legal relationship between an employer and its employee. This arises when an individual performs work and services in return for remuneration (Blyton and Turnbull, 2004). Similarly, the term employee relation is interchangeable by industrial relation. Employee relationship involves the work that is concerned with maintaining the healthy relationship between employer and its employee in order to contribute towards the satisfactory productivity, motivation and morale. Therefore, it can be said that employee relationship is concerned with overcoming the various problems which arises within the business organization (Hislop, 2003). Employees should be provided with more health and safety measures. Their basic salary as well as different type of allowances rate should be increased specially for the works who are working late night. Proper lighting facility should be provided to them. Along with these all safely pick and drop facility should be provided to the employees who are working late night.

Employee Voice refers to the participation of the employee in every decision making process of the organization. It can be said that employee voice is the key to a success of every organization (Gomez-Mejia, Balkin and Cardy, 2004). According to the Clarke, voice of employee is extremely important because there are many challenges faced by the company. And at the same time it could be said that there are many business concepts which keeps on changing and one of the most important one is trust. Thus, listening to the employee voice is very important (Greasley and et.al, 2005).

The essay will examine the case study of London Underground (LU) after workers went on strike over conditions offered to them after a strategy put forward by the major of London to introduce all night- tube service to boost the capitals economy (Sabin, 2015). Almost 20,000 workers went on strike for 24 hours from 6.30 pm on Wednesday 8 July in order to achieve various benefits for the employees who are working late night. In accordance with the case scenario 20000 London underground workers were on strike on Wednesday that was budget day. This was in dispute over all night tube services. The Rail, Maritime and Transport union, Aslef, Transport salaried staff association and Unite were in dispute in relation with the pay that was being offered for new services. The chief operating officer of London underground Steve Griffiths presents that Full and final offer has been made. This presents that there would be a £500 non consolidated “launch bonus” to all the staff on night tube lines and, a £2000 “transition bonus” for the drivers who were working overnight. However, in order to provide the non consolidated bonus, health and safety of the staff members was sidelined.

Proper employee relation will aid the LU management to manage the healthy relationship between the employee and employer (London Underground Case Study, 2016). This in turn will aid the LU to overcome the problem of striking by understanding the needs and demands of the employees.

The present essay entails to understand the interest of different stakeholders. It includes the power, control in the employment relationship. Further involves certainty of conflict. In addition to this it also includes significance of employee voice as well as communication before decision making. The essay involves discussion major causes that results in situation of conflict aroused by workers of London underground. Moreover it covers various necessary measures undertaken in order to resolve the actual cause of strike.

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Main Body

This section of the report covers different aspects related with London underground case study. The part covers the style of management adopted by London Underground. Further it includes key stakeholders of firm and their varied interests. In addition to this it involves discussion on where power lies among unions and management at London underground. Main body also presents importance of employee voice and communication before decision making. The conflict resolution is also discussed within this section of essay.

Stakeholders

Stakeholders are an independent party who are affected by the organization, strategy or projects (Blyton and Turnbull, 2004). The key stakeholders of London Underground involve employees, customers as well as authorities/ management. This because they have interest in the affairs of the organization. Further stakeholders also includes the one who have invested funds in the organization thus requires appropriate return from the investment. The key stakeholders of LU have been discussed in the manner stated below:

  • Employee: - An Employee is a person who works for the betterment of the company. In order to achieve the success in their business satisfying the majority of employee is very important (Armstrong and Taylor, 2014). Thus, an organization should make an effort s to satisfy its employees by providing them healthy work environment and job security. These employees in lieu of LU strike simply want safety of their life and at the same time relief from late night job or increase in the basic salary or monthly bonus and remuneration.
  • Customer: - Customers are one of the most valuable assets to the company. If customers does not fell delighted from the services of company then this results is causing dissatisfaction among them (Snyder and Diesing, 2015). In accordance with the case the strike by London Underground has affected the customers to a greater extent. The customer needs value for their money in terms of high quality of services. The services offered by LU at station got affected through strike which has influenced the satisfaction level of customers to a significant level.
  • Authorities/Management: - Management and authorities are the backbone of the company. They want to achieve set targets easily by managing all activities (Baarslag et.al, 2014). Thus, in context of the LU strike, management has made certain offers in front of the staff members in order to manage all the problems that arose. Management by forming various strategies is able to overcome the condition of the strike faced by the LU. This style was followed by the LU management in order to solve the night tube problem that is faced by the works that are working after 6:30 pm. This strike voted for by workers was made by the employee in order to get more safety and security along with bonuses (Daft, 2015).

Thus, in order to satisfy the stakeholders LU management has taken into consideration the two styles that is consultative style and collectivism style.

  • Consultative style:-It is regarded as one of the management style that can be used by London Underground. It is considered as the style which demonstrates the combination of democratic and autocratic. The consultative manager gain insight to the views and opinions of staff and allows them to feel involved but the authority to take final decision lies in the hands of management only. This style of leadership which focuses on using the skills, experiences and ideas of other people in order to solve various problems that arose out of LU strike by the staff members (Bauer and Lingens, 2014). By using this style, management can collect various ideas where they can decide to increase average pay or provide bonuses amongst other (Edwards, 2009). Here, the management consults team member or workers before taking final decision. Such can be adopted by LU in order to resolve the issues that resulted in causing strike.
  • Collectivism style: - It is the style in which an individual form a group in order to achieve the desire target effectively (Morgan and Zeffane, 2003). In case of LU strike same style was adopted by both the employees and the management. Employees form a large group of about 20000 individual employees in order to achieve their desired target, which was increase in pay, health and their safety. A large pressure by the group of employees forces the London Underground management to accept the demands of the employees. Similarly, in order to overcome this problem LU management has considered the following style (Methods/Ways of Participation of Employees in Decision-Making, 2015). They formed a large association considering the Rail, Maritime and Transport union in order to overcome the problem of strike. They have considered the various ideas and suggestions given by different union to satisfy the employees. These suggestions provided by different unions should be undertaken by the LU to overcome the situation of strike.

There are three types of trade unions that are taking place in the London (Craft union, industrial union and public employee unions).

  • Craft union represents the workers in specific occupation. Craft union was developed from the medieval Europe this union main aim is to represent the workers in the specific occupation, according to their skills (Cullinane and Dundon, 2014). This union tries to develop employee relations by studying each individual behavior and its related occupation.
  • Industrial Union represents the workers in the industrial sectors like transportation and food services. This union symbolizes the workers in long-haul trucking which comprises of a variety of industrial jobs like trucking, construction and warehouse (Muhammad, 2015). One of the largest industrial trade unions in London is International Brotherhood of teamsters. This union makes an attempt to develop the employee relations by considering the various activities performed by every individual (Sy, Tram and O’Hara, 2006).
  • Public sector unions present workers at every level of government. It is regarded as trade union that primarily demonstrates the interest of employees within public sector (Guest and et.al, 2003). These unions support workers at urban and industrial job.

Therefore, development of trade union will prove to be beneficial as well as hazardous to the LU management. If trade union is developed then London Union will be able to easily overcome the problem of strike faced by them. They can talk and make understand the individual leader of the union about the solution of the problem. Because making understand a single employee is very easily as compared to speaking to the large number of employees (Greasley and et.al, 2005). Thus, development of these trade unions helps the LU management to easily overcome the strick problem made by the employees in order to get increment in the salary for the employees working after 6:30pm and at the same employees also wants health and safety of their life. By simply offering various offers to the employees against their demand. In the strike carried out by LU the trade union involved is public sector unions. As the case presents that workers are fighting for their interest from government organizations. This demonstrates involvement of public sector trade unions who can work for the betterment of LU's employees. The union size involved in the strike is 20000 that involve workers of London underground who commit stop from work due to non fulfillment of their demands.

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Power, Control And Conflict

This section of essay presents power and control within employment relationship. Further it includes inevitability of conflict. The part portraits the nature and origin of conflict and discussed on where power lies among unions and management at London Underground.

An organization should make efforts to impose various power and control on the employee in such a way that it does not hurt any employee (Kaynak, 2003). A company can use this power in order to overcome the problem of strike faced by London Underground.

Employee relationship shows the behavior and communication that take place between employee and employer (Vinciarelli, Salamin and Polychroniou, 2014). A healthy employee relationship between the employer and employee will create a healthy working environment in the organisation (Armstrong and Taylor, 2014). This is because such has ability to increase satisfaction of the employees at work. Further it boosts their morale to work to fullest zeal which thereby results in enhancing their productivity to a greater extent. This in turn will assist the company to achieve its desired objectives. A positive employee relationship will aid the company to overcome the various conflicts that arises within an organization (Bauer and Lingens, 2014). Many a time this employee relationship can also prove to be barrier in the success of the company. It can create groupism in the organization and groupism will lead to the conflict (Blyton and Turnbull, 2004). This is because groupism results in inter-specific competition. Further competition is inevitable for growth and success of an individual. Groupism in term is not considered bad but regular conflicts different group is bad. People in corporate searches for one having similar behavior. Once they discover then they tend to group together. Further they tend to protect the interest of group. But major issue arises in case of dissimilarities in the ideas of different group which result in creating situation of conflict in the organization.

Pluralism is the theory which says that several veto groups are formed out among the various political powers in various democracies that should tie in with trade unions (Copeland, 2014). According to this theory only one veto group can win at a time. Thus, taking into consideration the above mentioned case it can be concluded that two veto group is formed out. One is of the employee union and other is of LU management.

The situation of functional conflict arises when there is disagreement among the parties but in a healthy manner (Edwards, 2009). This conflict can be dissolved easily in the general board meeting. Likewise, on the other hand condition of dysfunctional conflict arises when there is disagreement among the parties in an unhealthy manner (Rahim, 2015). This conflict results in strikes and lock-outs.

There are also different types of conflicts that may arise in organization like London Underground. According to the case study of LU it could be analyzed that organized and unorganized conflicts arises (Strike by London Underground workers will 'definitely go ahead'. 2015). The condition of organized conflict arises when the parties to the contract thought that they can successfully be able to counter the other party. Similarly, unorganized conflict arises when the parties who are the actual cause of the organized conflict are not able to introduce any solution or change (Jensen, 2015). It can be said that the condition of organized conflict has arose in the LU because employee wants safety along with an increment in the salary for employee that work at night. Thus, the condition of strike arises because the LU management is not at all able to provide security to the employees on their demand before (Cullinane and Dundon, 2014). Thus, it can be said that the condition of organized conflict has arose in the LU which in turn has resulted in the strikes of the employees (Cullinane and Dundon, 2014).

In accordance with the case study it can be said that power lies in union. Because; union is made up large group of people with high power. Therefore, after applying the concept of pluralism it can be concluded that condition of strike arose in the LU was due to the dissatisfaction among the employees which in turn has resulted in dysfunctional and organized conflicts.

Employee Voice

After the section of power, control and conflict that represents the reason due to which conflict occurred. Another part relating with employee voice has been presented. This acts as a major that can assist London Underground in resolving its issues to a greater extent. If employee voice had been taken into consideration than the condition of LU strike would not have occurred. Management of LU can also resolve this problem by listing to the employee voice as; undoubtedly employees are the only people who work for the betterment of the company (Vinciarelli, Salamin and Polychroniou, 2014). Thus, it can be said that its management responsibility to take care of its employee. In order to resolve the strike chief officer of LU has announced an average 2% rise in basic salary, non-consolidated bonus to the employees working late night (London Underground Case Study, 2016). There is certain principle of employee relationship enumerated below:

  • Consultation: - It is the process of formally consulting the expert; therefore, there are various advantages which LU Association can avail. Consultation with the higher authority will aid the association to know the various ideas and suggestion which in turn can result in strict resolution (Guest, 2002). Consultation with the higher authorities will assist the company to assimilate and communicate to each and every employee effectively. Moreover, it could be said that use of these principle will prove beneficial for the managers and Association (Hislop, 2003). However, the use of this method is costly and if designed poorly can produce the misleading results which in turn can enhance the condition of conflicts (Guest and et.al, 2003).
  • Employee Involvement: - Employee involvement exists in the organization that deliberately establishes work cultures, processes and systems to encourage the employee input and feedback (Jensen, 2015). Employee involvement is the inclusion of employee called up by the manager of the organization in decision making (Zukauskas and Vveinhardt, 2015). Use of these principles will aid the LU Association to generate better ideas in order to resolve the condition of conflict. Employee involvement will aid the London Association to increases the employee commitment (Lebbon, n.d. Case studies: London Underground). The principles of employee involvement will also benefits the company in managing the manager-employee Boundary (Greasley and et.al, 2005). However, it could create criticism for the LU Association. It can generate a legal problem and at the same time creates capacity for mistakes (Strike by London Underground workers will 'definitely go ahead', 2015).
  • Employee Participation: - Employee participation is the participation of the employee directly. In this case employee goes directly to the management in order to share their various ideas and suggestions (Kaynak, 2003). Thus, it could be said that the condition of strike may not occur if LU management in advance had focused on the health and security of the employees who are working after 6:30pm till late nights. Thus, it could be said that principle of employee participation will prove to be beneficial for the company only when LU association will consider the involvement of employee who have came directly to share their ideas and solutions (Jensen, C., 2015). But at the same time it could create criticism for the LU Association if the ideas and suggestion given by the employee are not in their benefit. It will create the securities risks and at the same time it will result in Union Objections (What Is Employee Relations? - Definition & Concept. 2015).In accordance with the case scenario the principle used by London Underground relates with employee consultation. This is because the decision making authority relating with final decision lay in the hands of top management.

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Collective Bargaining

After taking into account employee voice another crucial aspect of employee relationship is collective bargaining wherein negotiation is done among the employers and employees in order to reach at an agreement so as to regulate working situations. Under this interest of employees are presented by trade unions with which employees are associated. The pay and conditions of most of the employees in the UK are not negotiated. Collective bargaining is not only considered across the economy; (Morgan and Zeffane, 2003) however in the public sector, 63% employees are covered by collective bargaining and the ratio is more as compared to the private sector (Copeland, 2014). In private sector, collective bargaining is only about 16% and when this ratio increases, impact arise most probably on all the levels of company or on business entities (Rahim, 2015).

There is still industry level bargaining in some sectors like textile and furniture industry; however in the year 1980, there was a clear move to bargaining at local level and a number of employer federation found to be involved in collective bargaining (Pozos-Radillo Blanca and Liliana, 2015). In addition to the same, some workers in the public sector are covered by pay review bodies rather than collective bargaining (Guest, Michie, Conway and Sheehan, 2003). There is no legal requirement for the employer to negotiate with the Union except in the case when legal obligations are required to be considered under decision aspects. In such cases, the union has the right to bargain over pay, hours and holidays. Such cases are rare in nature and generally it is the balance of forces between employee and employer at workplace that determines all such domains where bargaining can take place (Robson, 2015).

As per the case scenario of the workers of the LU went to the strike in order to fulfill their demands. Workers demanded for the extra pay if they work after the 6.30pm. In addition to this, workers were not satisfied with the working condition as well as safety measures which are adopted by an organization in order to overcome the strike condition faced by the LU. Thus, better arrangements for the health and safety aspects are also one of the main cause due to which workers went on strike. In order to remove the problem of lock out or strike LU had undertaken the collective bargaining as a tool (Lebbon, n.d. Case studies: London Underground [Online]). Moreover, strike and lock-outs closely impacts the functioning of the business organization. Thus, company arranged the meeting with the representative or leader of the workers to bargain the terms and conditions which are imposed by all the workers. In meeting, leader of the workers presents the demand from the workers side and thereby make efforts to fulfill their all demands (Vinciarelli, Salamin and Polychroniou, 2014). In addition to this, company also represents their views and suggestion.

In collective bargaining, company makes high level of efforts in order to find out the solution of the lock-outs (Zukauskas and Vveinhardt, 2015). Organization had also announced the £2000 in the form of transition bonus for the drivers who performed their functions overtime (Pozos-Radillo Blanca and Liliana, 2015). This aspect evolves satisfaction among the employees and encourages them to perform their best efforts which make contribution in the attainment of the organizational goals and objectives (Muhammad, 2015). In addition to this, London underground had announced £500 as a non-consolidated bonus to all the staff of night tube lines (Atherton, W.N., 2015). Nevertheless, on the behalf of the bonus aspects employees sidelined the health and safety measures (Hislop, 2003). Through collective bargaining organization achieved success in removing the lock outs within 24 hours. Thus, by negotiating all the terms and conditions the organization is able to facilitate the smooth functioning of the business (Blyton and Turnbull, 2004).

Recommendation And Conclusion

Thus, some of the recommendations to the management of LU which they can undertake in order to overcome the problem of the strike and to see that it does not occur again are as follows:-

  • Management of LU should make continuous effects to build a healthy employee relation in the organization. Healthy employee relation will assist the management to know in advance what employees want, what are their needs and wants. (Edwards, 2009).
  • Management of LU should develop rules and regulations keeping in mind that the rules formed do not hurt the employees. It should be in the favor of both the employees and the management. (Blyton and Turnbull, 2004).
  • In order to overcome such type of problem and to see that such problem does not arise further in the future they should timely consult to the experts and undertake the employee involvement and employee participation.
  • Management of LU should undertake the collective and consultation style in order to understand what actual employee wants and whether the management is liable to fulfill their demand or not. (Cooper and Mishel, 2015).
  • Employees of LU should have the opportunity to voice any concerns and make recommendations as employee is vital in the workplace and this may help reduce the number of strikes taken (Cullinane, N. and Dundon, T., 2014).

The recommendations stated above will in turn aid the LU to overcome the problem of strike by properly understanding what are the need and demand of the employees.

From the essay it has been concluded that company undertakes collectivism style to manage the problem effectively and efficiently. It can be seen in the report that it places more emphasis on working in groups as opposed to individually. Through this, the organization is able to build and sustain competitive advantage over others. Besides this, it can be inferred that conflicts arose between the management and staff and they went to strike. Thus, it can be concluded that maintenance of employee relationship in the organization can assist the organization to easily overcome the conditions like strike by providing the employee what they want and what are the reasons for the strike. Moreover, after analyzing the whole situation of LU strike it could be concluded that management of LU was not able to actually understand what employees wants.

This carelessness has resulted into the strike. Thus, in order to overcome this problem LU has undertaken the collective bargaining style to resolve the conflicting situation. By negotiating the terms and conditions with the team leader company got success in abolishing the strike within the 24 hours. However, the negotiations weren’t resolved which resulted in the strikes re-occurring and thus the strike was back in January 2016 this strike occur again because trade union was not happy with the proposal given by the management of London Underground. The four unions that are involved in the LU strike have again planned to do the strike at the end January 2016 and in mid February 2016. This strike has taken place related with the disputes of the drivers pay and staff working conditions (Tube strike: Unions set date for three days of action, 2016).

References

  • Armstrong, M. and Taylor, S., 2014. Armstrong's handbook of human resource management practice. Kogan Page Publishers.
  • Atherton, W.N., 2015. Theory of union bargaining goals. Princeton University Press.
  • Baarslag, T. and et.al., 2014. Decoupling negotiating agents to explore the space of negotiation strategies. In Novel Insights in Agent-based Complex Automated Negotiation. Springer Japan.
  • Bauer, C. and Lingens, J., 2014. Does Collective Wage Bargaining Restore Efficiency in a Search Model with Large Firms?. The Economic Journal.
 

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