For this weeks group assignment, our team researched China, Japan, Canada, and Denmark. Our team sought to better understand Western European and Asian Employee Relations Systems from comparing and contrasting the systems that each have in place. For this assignment, we looked into three key dimensions for the countries named above. Specifically, we researched the traditional role of the government in each country, as well as any recent changes that are currently happening.
We then delved deeper into each country by assessing the most common arms of employee representation and any recent changes that may be present. Finally, our team examined the traditional level of influence of the labor movement within China, Japan, Canada, and Denmark to further understand any recent changes that are occurring in that arena. DIMENSION ONE: The traditional role of the government in employee relations and any recent changes that are occurring: Our team found that there were many elements of tradition in the role of the government within employee relations and the countries that we researched.
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For example, in China, it has been described that this country exists within a system of here ‘old irons’ (Kim, p. 165). Kim describes those areas as an iron rice bowl, iron chair, and iron wages. The iron rice bowl is a guaranteed lifetime employment via state-owned organizations; the iron chair is selection based on political orientation, absence of punishment for poor business performance; and finally, iron wage is where there is state-administered, inflexible wage structures and low wage policies (Kim, p. 65). In Denmark, another country that we researched, Anderson & Mainland found that the government is involved only to a limited extent in securing employees general rights. There are only a few laws that concern white-collar workers which stipulate that employees have rights in relation to terms of notice. Correspondingly employers’ terms of notice are generally at quite a low level even in the collective agreements. Trade unions have concentrated their effort on the subject of dismissal only to a Eliminate extent. Toner areas like wages or working time nave Eden looked upon as more important in the processes of collective bargaining. This has meant that Denmark, according to the COED Pl -index – has a comparatively low level of employment protection Onset, g. 3). In Canada, it is argued that the government role in employee relations tends to be more progressive since much of Canada is decentralized (Sack, 2010). As a result, government involvement tends to take place at a provincial level. Only 8. 4% of the Canadian workforce falls under federal Jurisdiction (Sack, 2010).
Accordingly, labor statutes often adjust in response to changes in the political climate. Canada has what is known as the Canadian Charter Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees both individual and collective rights of employees (Sack, 2010). Labor legislation traditionally supports worker and union rights and confirms that collective arraigning is protected under the Charter. Under a recent Court decision, it was ruled that Charter protections are now to include the right to Join a union (Sack, 2010). In Japan, there are many roles that the government plays within employee relations.
According to Dolan (1994), “the structure of Japan’s labor market was experiencing gradual change in the late sass and was expected to continue this trend throughout the sass. The structure of the labor market is affected by the aging of the working population, increasing numbers of women in the labor force, and workers’ rising education level” (Dolan, 1994). Furthermore, according to Sidestroke(1999), it is stated that “industrial relations in Japan can be typified as relatively co-operative. The IR system is founded on three tiers: enterprise unionism, lifetime employment and seniority-based wages.
It is also distinguished by the widespread bonus arrangements and promotion almost exclusively from within” (Sidestroke, 1999). Thus, it is very clear that promotion from within is indeed a large part of how business is conducted. “Job security is very high, workers in a firm are guaranteed albeit informally lifelong employment in exchange for commitment to the company. Even during adverse business conditions and mounting unemployment, under Japanese law, sacking people is complex and uneconomical which is seen in Japan very poor for public relations” (Sidestroke, 1999).
Our team found this piece of information particularly informational because of the fact that in Japan, loyalty is valued at a very high level. This area particularly had our team asking the question of how poor performers are managed within the business. For example – if an individual is not performing to the level that the organization desires, we assume that they would be managed out. However, based on this research, it appears that that action may be in fact a little bit more complex and decisions need to be thoughtfully carried out.
DIMENSION TWO: Traditionally the most common forms of employee representation and any recent changes: In comparing China, Denmark, Canada and Japan, the most common forms of employee representation are labor unions and some form of a Joint committee comprises AT employers Ana employees. Wendell In some countries, tenure Is a Olsten separation between the union and the state; for China, this does not hold true. In China union autonomy from the state does not exist. In fact, independent unions are not allowed in China, nor are any forms of labor disputes.
A 1994 Labor Law allows for the establishment of labor unions in every state, but these are controlled by the state. Although unions in China are controlled by the state, they are distinct in that there are no thresholds for minimum vote or time limits when employees demand a union. The All-China Federation of Trade Unions is a unified organization that all organizations and establishments must deal with. The ACUTE is the world’s largest trade union, with more than 190 million members. A recent initiative titled, the
Rainbow Plan, Jointly announced by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the China Enterprise Confederation/China Enterprise Directors Association, and the ACCEPT in May 2010, it is the aim of the trade unions in China to increase the rate of unionized companies and collective agreements. In contrast to China’s state controlled labor unions, Denmark has indirect participation through collective agreements rather than through legislation (Gill, 2006). According to Fullerton (201 1), employee representation takes place at three levels: national, industry and company.
At the national level, the main parties for the framework agreements are the LO and the Danish employers’ confederation AD. These parties lay down the rights and obligations of the two sides. At the industry level, collective agreements that deal with pay and conditions are established between employers’ associations and unions or “cartels” of unions grouped together to cover different industrial sectors. An example would be that one is established for most manufacturing, one for printing and media and so on.
At company level, the negotiations are between the trade union representatives and company management (Fulton, 2011). In Canada, collective agreements and arbitration awards provide one of the more common forms of employee representation for Canadians. Adele (2003), states that approximately 40% of the Canadian workforce is covered. In addition, there is a statutory requirement for each collective bargaining agreement to provide an arbitration procedure to resolve disputes that arise as a result of a contract (Adele, 2003). In Japan, employee representation has been in development over several decades.
As Sereneness (2007) indicates, “trade unions in Pang) have a monopoly not only to lead collective bargaining, but also to lead Joint consultation” (p. ). Thus, there is a two- pronged approach, of sorts. Jerkins (2007), indicates “the right to collective bargaining (in Japan) is guaranteed by the constitution, while labor management Joint consultation is not prescribed by law, but has been voluntarily developed by a trade union and an employer at each company. The most important difference between the two machineries lies in the level of formality.
Joint consultation is a more informal and cooperative procedure than collective bargaining. Under this procedure, an employer and a trade union discuss any matter in a friendly atmosphere. Even if here is discrepancy, a union never goes on strike. The Joint consultation procedure is often moved to a more formal procedure, namely collective bargaining, if an employer Ana a nylon ah not succeed In coming to terms” (p. 2 Similar to Japan’s Joint consultation is Canada’s use of sector councils. The use of sector councils has also become a popular form of non-union representation for Canadian employees.
A sector council is defined as “a Joint employer-employee organization that provides a neutral decision making forum to determine human resource issues within the sector and to develop and implement a sectarian human sources strategy’ (Gunderson, 2011). Gunderson (2011) claims that sector councils are used by 44% of the workforce. DIMENSION THREE: The traditional level of influence of the labor movement and any recent changes that are occurring Since the mid-sass, there has been a long-term trend towards a decline in union membership.
This downward trend appears to be ongoing, but there are wide variations among the countries researched for this assignment. The coverage in collective bargaining in Denmark and Sweden is much wider than that of Japan and China, as evidenced by the number of workers that have their pay and employment notations determined by collective agreements, which is above 80% (Gill, 2006). Canadian union membership levels have been on a downward slope since peaking at around 40% in the mid sass’s, hitting 36% in the mid sass’s are settling at around today (Brenna, 2005).
In “Industrial Relations in Western Europe,” Gill (2006) writes that Denmark is renowned for its relatively high degree of centralization of collective bargaining and extensive regulation of its labor markets (Gill, 2006). European Industrial Relations Observatory (2002) found that Denmark has a high union density of 88% (Gill, 2006). Fulton (2011) wrote that collective bargaining in Denmark operates within a clearly defined structure. At the highest level there are the framework agreements between the LO and the Danish employers’ federation (AD), which set the rules for issues which in many other countries would be regulated by the law.
Agreements covering pay and conditions, which in the sass and sass were largely also signed at this national level, are now dealt with at the level of individual industries. In the public sector, the main collective agreements are also between cartels of unions on the one and and employers (central government and the associations for regional and local government) on the other (Fulton, 2011). In Canada, industries such as the automotive sector have been restricted due to NONFAT and other agreements that created a continental dependency instead of a national one (Brenna, 2005).
Unions such as the Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW) have to rely upon multinational automotive companies decisions instead of making their arguments at a national political level (Brenna, 2005). Deregulation in the telecommunications industry has also caused the power of unions to weaken. New non-union employers are taking over sector Jobs, as companies are now entering into contracts where they do not have to pay overtime to employees (Brenna, 2 Scalar trends are occurring In ten steel, T Ana retail Insinuates (Brenna, 2005).