Industrial conflict refers to all expressions of dissatisfaction within the employment relationship, especially those pertaining to the employment contract, and effort bargain. There are different kinds of industrial conflict which may be divided into two broad classes namely informal and formal. An industrial conflict or dispute is defined as a withdrawal from work by a group of employees, or a refusal by an employer to allow workers to work. Causes of industrial conflict include wage demands, working conditions, management policy, political goals and social issues.
The level of wage and salaries is often the major cause of disputes between an employee and employer. It also refers to a demand by employees for an increase in their wage rate or changes to the way in which their wages are calculated or determined. As well, wage demands may relate to pay rates may need to be adjusted to compensate employees in times of inflationary pressures and interest rates. Employees are more likely seek wage increases to maintain their standards of living. Disputes often arise over issues of working conditions and safety at the workplace.
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Include disputes concerning issues such as leave entitlements, pensions, compensation, hours of work. Employers will need to monitor physical working conditions and provide adequate clothing and equipment, first aid facilities, quality working equipment and amenities such as lunch room, change rooms and toilet facilities. Employees will take action if there is a risk to either their or others health and safety. Disputes are often the result of inadequate consultation by management with their employees. Disputes over changes that management wishes to implement will often cause industrial conflict.
Matters include terms and conditions of employment, new awards and agreements, award restructuring, outsourcing and technology acquisitions and structural change. Political goals and social issues refers to non-industrial issues, but rather involves wider issues directed at persons or situations rather than those relating to the employer ??? employee relationship. Employee unions, federations and associations will often undertake actions that are unrelated to the basic wages and conditions of their member.
The different stakeholders in employment relations view the relationship between employers and employees from a range of different perspectives. In unitary perspective employees work together as a team to achieve common goals. The unitary approach in ER assumes stakeholders such as employees and their employers work hand in hand to achieve shared goals. It sees the business as a unified entity in which everyone shares the same purpose and is part of the same team. If conflict does arise, it is seen as the fault of poor employee management or communication problems.
Unions are needed. The pluralist perspective believes that conflict between employers and employees given their different aims and interests is expected at times. It also recognises that some interests are shared and that decision making should be shared between the competing parties. Both parties need to accept that the differing views can be considered for successful industrial relations to occur. The radical perspective believes that there are such fundamental differences between employer and employee that is almost certain that conflict will always occur.
Sees conflict in the workplace and reflects the traditional view of “us employees versus those employers”. It believes that employers and employees are too opposed to work together. Stakeholders, who include employers, employees, unions and government organizations play important roles in resolving disputes. Employers use grievance procedures and negotiate agreements directly with employees to resolve disputes. On the other hand, employees use grievance procedures and negotiate with employers with or without unions, on a collective or individual basis.
Employer associations also provide information and support to employers, assist in negotiations with unions, represent employers in tribunals. Unions represent employees in disputes from the shop floor to the national level, negotiate with manager, employers and associations, represent employees in tribunals. Government organisations are stakeholders who through their legislation can resolve or even prevent disputes. Government has also established the rules under which the parties negotiate, whether in individual contracts, collective bargaining or in the conciliation and arbitration system.
It also has the responsibility of ensuring that these rules are followed, and stands ready to intervene if an agreement cannot be reached. There are two forms of industrial conflicts that can be taken by employees or employers; overt action and covert action. Overt industrial action is highly visible, direct and aimed at gaining maximum awareness and well organised by unions. Lockouts is action taken by employees where employers are not allowed to enter the workplace and are locked out from the workplace unless they agree to follow management order or work as directed.
Pickets is where striking workers or a union attempt to gather outside the workplace forming a line to prevent entry of other employees, contract labour or suppliers from entering the workplace. A strike is a withdrawal of labour from production. Strikes are the most overt form of industrial action and aim to attract publicity and support for the employee’s case. Strikes occur when employees withdraw their labour in order to enforce a demand or express a grievance. Ban is when employees refuse to form a task that is usually not specified in their employment contract, such as overtime.
Working to rule is similar to a work ban and involves workers only performing what is contained in their employment contract or award and following the strict terms of their employment contract or award. Covert action is not openly acknowledged or displayed with no organisation. Absenteeism usually refers to when employees are unhappy, usually when employees are not being considered by employers in times of dispute, the employees may undertake a system where they do not show up to work and absent themselves.
Employees may take industrial action in the form of deliberately damaging physical items and causing vandalism in the workplace. Damage is done by employees to either the product or in production of the product. Employees usually take such action to harm or destroy the image of a firm. High voluntary labour turnover rates are often linked with absenteeism rates as indicators of conflict and dissatisfaction among employees. Conflict can arise when employees believe that they haven’t