INTRODUCTION Grievance Redressal System The human behavior differs from person to person. Every employee has certain expectation which he thinks must be fulfilled by the organization he is working in. It is not possible for the management to satisfy the feelings & ego of all the employees. It is therefore, but natural that workers have grievances against their supervisor or a whole or against the systems & practices, which are followed in the organization. Definition: A grievance is a complaint of one or more workers in respect of wages allowances, conditions of work & interpretation of service stipulations, job assignment & termination of service. ” Meaning and Nature of Employee Grievance According to Michael J. Jesus the term “grievance” means “any discontent or dissatisfaction, whether expressed or not and whether valid or not, arising out of anything connected with the company that an employee thinks, believe or even feels, is unfair, unjust, or inequitable,” This definition is very broad and covers all kinds of dissatisfaction which an employees has while doing his job.
A grievance means any discontentment or dissatisfaction arising out of anything related to the enterprise where he is working. It may not be expressed and even may not be valid. It arises when an employee feels that something has happened or is going to happen which is unfair, unjust or inequitable. Faith Davis has defined grievance as “any real or imagined feeling of personal injustice which an employee has concerning his employment relationship. ” A grievance represents a situation in which an employees feels the something unfavorable to him has happened or is going to happen.
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In an industrial enterprise, grievance may arise because of several factors such as: a)Violation of management’s responsibility such as poor working conditions, b)Violation of company’s rules and practices. c)Violation of collective bargaining agreement. , d)Violation o labour laws, e)Violation of natural rules of justice such as unfair treatment in promotion. Features i. The discontentment arises out of something connected with the organization. The sources of grievances lie within the company such as unfair treatment buy the supervisor, violation of company rules, etc.
Personal reasons such as illness in the filthily, conflict with a neighbor, etc, do not constitute a grievances. Such outside sources are beyond the control of the employer. ii. A grievance may be expressed or implied. It is comparatively easier to identity express grievances. They are manifested in several ways, e. g. , gossiping, active criticism, argumentation, increased labour turnover carelessness in the use of tools, materials and poor workmanship, etc. Grievances are also implied by indifference to work, day dreaming, absenteeism, tardiness, etc. It is not wise to recognize only expressed grievances and overlook the unexpressed ones.
In fact, unexpressed or implied grievances are more dangerous than the grievances which are stated because it is not known when the implied grievance may explode. It requires a high order o skill for an executive to identify such grievances. iii. The discontent may be rational or irrational. Rational grievance is a genuine one which must be removed by the management. On the other hand, there are grievances which are emotional in nature and are based on sentiments, distorted’ perception, lack of proper thinking, etc. These are totally irrational or psychological. It is difficult to handle such grievances.
Causes of Grievance: i. Grievances resulting from management policies a)Wage rates or scale of pay b)Overtime c)Leave d)Transfer-improper matching of the worker with the job e)Seniority, promotion, and discharges. f)Lack of career planning and employee development plan. g)Lack of role clarity. h)Lack of regard for collective agreement. i)Hostility towards a labour union j)Autocratic leadership style of supervisors. ii. Grievances resulting from working conditions: a)Unrealistic b)Non-availability of proper tools, machines and equipments for doing the job. c)Tight productions standards d)Bad physical conditions of workplace )Poor relationship with the supervisor f)Negative approach to discipline iii Grievances resulting from Personal Factors a)Narrow attitude b)Over-ambition c)Egoistic personality Grievance in Industry There are many factors in industry which make a worker unhappy and dejected. May be his fellow workers are non-co-operative or his foreman’s sarcastic or harsh remarks or his own personal problems outside the factory or domestic matters. Poverty, undernourishment, debts, unemployed dependants, etc. may be working adversely in his mind. He looks around and finds everybody being unkind to him.
He is aggrieved and wants to ventilate his feeling and reactions. A well defined grievance procedure is an important element of a sound industrial relations machinery, prompt and effective disposal of workers grievance is the key to industrial peace. The grievance procedure set up by agreement with a union provide a medium for the workers to transmit his grievance to management in an orderly manner and get the answer in writing. Handling of Grievances Grievance are symptoms of conflicts in enterprise. So they should be handled very promptly and efficiently, coping with grievance forms an important part of manager’s job.
The manner in which he deals with grievance determines his efficiency in dealing with the subordinates. A manager is successful if he is able to build a team of satisfied workers by removing their grievances. While dealing with the grievance of subordinates, it is necessary to keep in mind the following points: a)A grievance may or may not be real. b)Grievances may arise out of not one cause, but multifarious causes. c)Every individual does not give expression to his grievances. For the purpose of handling grievances efficiently, it is necessary to find and analyze the grievances of the subordinates.
If a grievances is found to be genuine or real the corrective action should taken immediately. But if the grievances arises due to imagination or disturbed frames of mind of the worker, then it is necessary to explain and clear up the matter. Before dealing with the grievances, their causes must be diagnosed. But when the grievances are not given expression by the subordinates, it is manager’s job to detect the possible grievances and their causes. He may realize the existence of grievances because of high labour turnover, high rate of absenteeism and poor quality if work.
These problems will go on multiplying if the causes of grievances are not cured. While dealing with grievances a manager cannot depend upon any readymade solutions. Every ease has to be dealt with on its merits. The following guidelines may be followed to deal effectively with the grievances. a)The complainant should be given a patient hearing. He should allowed to express himself completely. b)Attempts should be made to get at the root of the problem. c)The management must show its anxiety to remove the grievances of the workers. d)If the grievances are real and their causes are known, attempts should be made to remove the causes. )If the grievances are imaginary or unfounded, attempts should be made to counsel the workers. Grievances Procedures A grievances is the embryo of more serious trouble to come because accumulation of minor grievances may lead to major explosion. Therefore, prompt and effective handling of grievances is the key to industrial peace. This calls for a systematic procedure of handling grievances for the just and speedy disposal of grievances. There are two types of grievances procedures for redressing the grievances of the employees. These include: 1. Open door procedure, 2. Step-ladder procedures. Open Door Procedure
Under this procedure, the employees are free to meet the top executive of the organization and get their grievances redressed. Such a policy may work well in the small organizations, but in big organizations this may not be practical because the top executive will be too busy in other matters. Another disadvantage of open-door policy is that lower level executives feel by passed. This may complicate the human relations problems. Moreover, top management is not too familiar with the working conditions of the operative employees. It may be difficult for it to attend to employee grievances because of lack of sufficient information.
Lastly, it is also said that the open door policy is suitable for executives to walk through and not the operative employees. The employees may even hesitate to go to top executives with their grievances. Because of these difficulties, step ladder procedure may be adopted as discussed below: Step-ladder Procedure: Under this procedure, the aggrieved employee has to proceed step by step in getting his grievance heard and redressed as shown in Fig. -1. Firstly, he has to present his grievance in writing to his supervisor or foreman. If he is not satisfied with his decision, he may go to the head of the department.
There may by a joint grievance committee after the decision of the head of the department is not acceptable to the employee. If the committee also fails to redress his grievance procedure will be said to be exhausted if the chief executive is also not able to redress the grievance. The workers should not take any action against the management (such as going to the labour union or labour court) until the whole grievance procedure has been exhausted. CHART 4 Specimen form for determining the Grievance Name……………………………Position……………………Location…………………… Reported by: Name……………………….. Title…………………To Name Department Title…………………….
Determine the Objective What am I trying to accomplish? 1. Get the facts be sure you have the whole story How to Handle a Problem Determine Objectives. 1. Get the Facts Review the Records; Find out what rules and plant customs apply; talk with individuals concerned; Get opinions and feelings. Be sure your have the hole story 2. Wait and Decide Fit the facts together; Consider their bearing on each other what possible actions are there? Check practices and policies; Consider objectives and effects on individual, group and production. Don’t jump to conclusion. 3. Take action Are you going to handle this yourself? Do you need help in handling?
Should you prefer this to your supervisor? Watch the timing of your action Do not pass the buck 4. Check Results How soon will you need to check? Watch out for changes in output, attitudes, and relationships. Did your action improve production? Did your action help to solve your problem? 2. Weigh and Decide Don’t Jump to conclusion; Possible action 3. Action I have taken recommended action for my supervisor Don’t pass the buck. 4. Check Results, Date…………….. Condition found Date……………. Condition found The grievance assumes the form of a conflict after the worker is not satisfied with the decision of the chief executive.
For maintaining industrial peace in the plant, it is advisable to refer such grievance to the voluntary arbitration. The award of the arbitrator should be binding on both the parties. Essentials of Good Grievance Procedure: It is advisable to set up an effective grievance procedure in the organization. The procedure should be flexible enough to meet the requirements of the organization. It should be simple so that an average employee is able to understand it. Though such a procedure will very in different organizations, yet the following principles should be observed while laying down a grievance procedure: 1.
A grievance should be dealt with in the first instance at the lowest level; that is to say, an employee should raise his grievance with his immediate superior. It may be simple to settle it on the spot and that will be the end of it. Even if it cannot be settled at that level, the man’s superior will know what is happening. This is necessary not only to maintain his authority, but also to prevent him from being aggrieved as he will certainly be, if he is by-passed and later hears of the complaint from his own superior. 2.
It must be made clear to the employee what line of appeal is, so that if he cannot get satisfaction from his immediate superior, he may know the next higher authority to whom he can go. 3. Since delay causes frustration and tempers may rise and rumours spread around the work, it is essential that grievances should be dealt with speedily. 4. It must be clearly understood in establishing a grievance procedure that if the grievances is against an instruction given by a supervisor. It is in the interest of discipline that instruction must be carried out.
Only then can the employee register his protest and set in motion the procedure. 5. The grievance procedure should be set up with the participation of the employees and it should applicable to all in the organization. It should be agreed that there will be no recourse to the official machinery of conciliation unless the procedure has been carried out and there is still dissatisfaction. Moreover, there must be no direct action on either side which might prejudice the case or raise tempers while the grievance is being investigated. A good grievance procedure should be simple so that an average employee is able to understand it.
Secondly, it should lay down the time limit which should not be exceeded at every step of the grievance procedure, and lastly, the grievance procedure should be developed with the participation of the leaders of the employees and must be applicable to all. The grievance procedure should ensure the speedy redressal of the grievances and must be capable of ensuring a sense of satisfaction to the individuals concerned. As far as possible, the procedure should have a limited number of steps with the provision for at least one appeal.
Grievances procedure in Indian Industry In India settlement of grievances did not receive adequate attention in the legislative framework, till the enactment of industrial employment (standing Object) Act, 1946; and the factories act, 148. The industrial employment act provides that every establishment employing 100 or more workers should be standing orders which should contain, among other matters, provision for means of redressal for workmen against unfair treatment or wrongful actions by the employer or his agents or servants.
Similarly, section 49 of the factories act provides for the appointment of Welfare Officer in every factory wherein 500 or more workers are ordinarily employed. These officers are generally entrusted with the task of dealing with complaints and grievances of the workers or employees. The 15th session of the Indian Labour Conference (July 1957) took up the matter of establishing a grievance procedure acceptable to both the management and workers union in an industrial unit and a sub-committee was formed for the purpose.
The 16th session of the Indian Labour Conference (1958) approved the principles of industrial discipline evolved by the committee. A Model Grievance Procedure which is a part of code of discipline was drawn up. The model grievance procedure envisages the creation of grievance machinery to administer the procedure. According to it worker representatives are to be elected for a department or their union is to nominate them. Otherwise workers representatives on the works committee are to be taken as their representatives.
The management has to specify the persons in each department who are to be approached at the first step and the heads of the department who are to process the grievance at the second step. These representatives of workers and management are to constitute the joint, bipartite Grievance Committee. It should be noted that the whole procedure is time bound. The model grievance procedure gives in detail the steps through which a grievance is to be processed. These may be summarized as under:
First Step:The grievance is to be submitted to the departmental representative of the management i. e. supervisor or foreman. He has to give his answer within 48 hrs. Second Step: If no solution is found at the first step, the aggrieved worker can take his grievance to the head of the department who has to give hi decision within three days. Third Step: If the worker concerned is not satisfied with the decision of the departmental head, he can take the grievance to Grievance Committee. Grievance Committee must make its recommendations to the manager within seven days.
The final decision of the management on the report of the Grievance Committee must be communicated to the concerned worker within three days of the receipt of the report. An appeal for revision of the final decision can be made by the aggrieved worker if he is not satisfied with it. The management must communicate its decision to the appellant worker within seven days. Fourth Step: If the grievance will remains unsettled, the case may be referred to voluntary arbitration. Two points should be noted. Firstly, a time limit has been put at every stage of the procedure. This is in recognition of the fact that justice delayed is justice denied.
Secondly, throughout the process of grievance procedure, the aggrieved worker is expected not to take resort to any direct action, the order against which representation if made must be complied with and the conciliation machinery will be resorted to only after the final decision of the management fails to satisfy the aggrieved worker. NEED FOR A GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE Without an analysis of their nature and pattern, the causes of employee dissatisfaction cannot be removed. The personnel administrator of an organization should go into the details of the grievances and find out the best possible methods of setting them.
He should help the top management and line managers, particularly foremen and supervisors, in the formulation and implementation of the policies, programmers and procedures which would best enable them to handle employee grievances. These policies, programmes and procedures are generally known as the grievance redressal procedure. The grievance procedure is a problem solving, dispute settling machinery which has been set up following an agreement to that effect or an employee makes and processes his claim that there has been a violation of the labour agreement by the company.
The grievance redressal procedure is a device by which grievances are settled, generally to the satisfaction of the trade union or employees and the management. This procedure is an important part of labour relations. It is essential, whether a plant is an organized one or not. The grievance machinery enables a management to detect any defects or flaws in the working conditions or in labour relations, and undertake suitable corrective measures.
If good morale and a code of discipline are to be maintained, it is essential that the grievance procedure is worked honestly and without prejudice, failing which there is likely to be an explosion, and production schedules would be shattered and the morale of the employees would be irretrievably impaired. According to Mangrulkar, “a grievance procedure is essential because it bring uniformity in the handling of grievances. ” It gives confidence to the worker, for if he does not get a fair deal, he knows what to do and whom to approach to ensure that he does get justice.
It also gives him confidence that ” his complaint will be investigated and a decision given in a reasonable period of time. The adoption of the grievance handling procedure is essential for a variety of reasons. For example: i. Most grievances seriously disturb the employees. This may affect their morale, productivity and their willingness to co-operative with the organization. If an explosive situation develops, this can be promptly attended to if a grievance handling procedure is already in existence. ii.
It is not possible that all the complaints of the employees would be settled by first-line supervisors, for these supervisors may not have had a proper training for the purpose, and they may lack authority. Moreover, there maybe personality conflicts and other causes as well. iii. It serves as a check on the arbitrary action of the management because supervisors know that employees are likely to see to it that their pretest does reach the higher management. iv. It serves as an outlet for employee gripes, discontent and frustrations. It acts like a pressure valve on a steam boiler.
The employees are entitled to legislative, executive and judicial protection and they get this protection from the grievance redressal procedure, which also acts as a means of upward communication. The top management becomes increasingly aware of employee problems, expectations and frustrations. It becomes sensitive to their needs and cares for their well-being. This is why the management, while formulating plans that might affect the employees-for example, plant expansion or modification, the installation of labour-saving devices, and so on, should take into consideration the impact that such plans might have on the employees. . The management has complete authority to operate the business as it sees fit subject, of course, to its legal and moral obligations and the contracts it has entered in to with its workers or their representative trade union. But if the trade union or the employees do no like the way the management functions. They can submit their grievance in accordance with the procedure laid down for that purpose A well designed and a proper grievance procedure provides. i. A channel or avenue by which any aggrieved employee may present his grievance. ii.
A procedure which ensures that there will be a systematic handling of every grievance; iii. A method by which an aggrieved employee can relieve his feelings of dissatisfaction with his job, working conditions, or with the management; and iv. A means of ensuring that there is some measure of promptness in the handling of the grievance. GRIEVANCE REDRESSAL MACHINERY A grievance procedure is a formal process which is preliminary to an which enables the parties involved to attempt to resolve their differences in a peaceful, orderly and expeditious manner.
It enables the company and the trade union to investigate conduct of business. When the grievance redressal machinery works effectively, satisfactorily resolves most of the disputes between labour and management. The details of the grievance procedure vary from industry to industry and from trade union because of the variations in the size of organizations, in trade union strength in the management philosophy, in the company traditions, in industrial practices and in the cost factor. The procedure may have as few as two steps or as many as ten, depending on the size of an organization.
In some small plants, it may involve no more than three steps. In medium and large organizations there may be five or six steps, with minor variations. Although all the grievances must necessarily be processed step by step, some formal steps may, in special circumstances, be skipped with a view to settling the grievance in an expeditious manner. “The handling of special grievances may involve special steps as well as, or in place of, skipping certain steps within normal grievance channels. The grievance procedure may be of an open-door type or of a step-ladder type.
In an open door policy the management asserts that no employee is prevented from going to it directly with his grievance, and even meet the head of the firm in an effort to have his grievance properly attended to. This kind of open-door policy may be useful in the case of small units. In a large organization, however, this would not be possible, for the top men may not have the time to attend to each grievance at a personal level. That is why most companies prefer the stepladder type of procedure for an expeditious processing of the grievance of their employees.
Chart No. -I Three-step Grievance Procedure StepLabour Management RepresentativeRepresentative 1. Shop steward and aggrieved employeeForman 2. Shop committeeGeneral Manager 3. Arbitration by an impartial third party Chart No. -II Four-step Grievance Procedure 1. Steward and aggrieved employeeForman 2. Shop committeePersonal Manager 3. Local union officersPresident 4. Arbitration by an impartial third party Chart No. -III Three-step Grievance Procedure 1. Union steward or employeeEmployee’s immediate supervisor. 2. Chief steward or business agentSuperintendent or ndustrial relations officer 3. Company grievance committee Industrial relations director/or plant manager 4. Regional or district representatives Top corporate of the union management 5. Arbitration by an impartial third party Time Limit: There are always time limits between different step of the grievance procedure additional steps are taken within a grievance system when labour is dissatisfied with the solution put forward by the lower line management. Both employees and management are required to arrive at a decision in regard to a grievance within a specified time limit.
For a foreman, this limit is between one and three days. At higher steps, it may be from one to three weeks. An arbitrator is generally allowed a time limit of between two weeks and four weeks, within which he has to give his decision. GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE STEPS IN UNIONISED ORGANISATIONS: In a unionized organization, the operation of the grievance procedure may contain the following steps: Step 1:- The aggrieved employee verbally explains his grievance to his immediate supervisor or in a conference or a discussion specifically arranged for the purposed.
The employee seeks satisfaction from his supervisor. He may or may not be accompanied by his shop steward. The grievance can be settled if the supervisor has been properly trained for the purpose, and if he adheres strictly to a basic problem-solving method. Step 2:- The second step begins when the grievance is not settled by the supervisor. In this case, it is sent to a higher level manager with a note in which are mentioned the time, place and nature of the action to which the employee objects.
The higher-level manager is generally the chief business-manager, a superintendent or an industrial Relations Officer who goes into the grievance and gives his decision on the methods. Step 3:- This means that the grievance is to be submitted to the Grievance Committee since the decisions of the supervisor and of the higher level manager have not solved the problem. This committee, which is composed of some fellow-employees, the shop steward or a combination of union and management representatives, considers the record and may suggest a possible solution.
It may call upon the grievant to accept the employer’s proposed settlement. It may advise him that the trade union will not press for anything more than has already been suggested. In some cases, it may recommend that the issue be submitted for arbitration. Step 4:- If the decision or suggestion of the Grievance Committee is not accepted by the grievant, he may approach the management or the corporate executive. This is the fourth step in the grievance handling procedure. Step 5:- The final step is taken when the grievance is referred to an arbitrator who is acceptable to the employee as well as the management.
They may agree before hand that the arbitrator’s award will be final and binding on both the parties. The Indian institute of personnel Management, Calcutta, Has briefly summarized the grievance procedure in the following five steps. i. In the first instance, the grievance should be settled at the lowest level’s that is, the employee should raise his grievance with his immediate superior. ii. It should be made clear to the employee that he may appeal if he does not get satisfaction from his immediate superior.
He should know who the next person in the echelon of management is to whom he should refer his grievance. iii. The grievance should be speedily dealt with. iv. If the grievance is against any instructions issued by the superior, the employee should clearly understand that, in the interest of discipline, the instructions must first be carried out before the grievance can be considered and decided upon. It is only when this has been done that the employer will register his protest and set the grievance handling procedure in motion. v.
It should be clearly understood by the employee that there will be no recourse to any official machinery till the grievance redressal procedure has been motion and that, in the event the employee is still dissatisfied, there will be no direct action by either any which might prejudice the case or raise doubts while the grievance is being investigated. vi. In practice, grievance procedure differs from company to company. Some contain simply two step procedures. Others may have as six or more steps. In the diagrams below are given the grievance procedure for a small company and for a large unionized company .
Company RepresentativeUnion Representative Step Three Step Two Step One Employee Grievance Handling Procedure in a Small Company Company RepresentativeUnion Representative Step Five Step Four Step Three Step Two Step One Employee Grievance Handling Procedure in a Large Unionized Company Even companies which are not unionized, which are not unionized, a formal grievance procedure is adhered to. This helps ensure that morale and productivity remain high, and that labour-management peace prevails. BASIC ELEMENTS OF A GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE The basic elements of grievance redressal procedure are: i.
The existence of a sound channel through which a grievance may pass for redressal if the previous stage or channel has been found to be inadequate, unsatisfactory or unacceptable. This stage may comprise three, four or fie substages. ii. The procedure should be simple, definite and prompt, for any complexity or vagueness or delay may lead to an aggravation of the dissatisfaction of the aggrieved employee. iii. The steps in handling a grievance should be clearly defined. These should comprise: (a)Receiving and defining the nature of the grievance; (b)Getting at the relevant facts, about the grievance; c)Analyzing the facts, after taking into consideration the economic, social, psychological and legal issued involved in them; (d)Taking an appropriate decision after a careful consideration of all the facts; and (e)Communicating the decision to the aggrieved employee. (iv)Whatever the decision, it should be followed up in order that the reaction to the decision may be known and in order to determine whether the issue has been closed or not. It is relevant to note here that the management is often guilty of errors in its handling of the grievance redressal procedure. These errors are : i. Stopping too son the search for facts; i. Expressing the opinion of the management before all the pertinent facts have been uncovered and evaluated; iii. Failing to maintain proper records; iv. Resorting to an executive fiat instead of dispassionately discussing the facts of the grievance of the employee; v. Communicating the decision to the grievant in an improper way; an vi. Taking a wrong or hasty decision, which the facts or circumstances of the case do not justify. These errors can be avoided if the management acts cautiously, fairly, on the basis of all the facts that can be collected, and with a cool mind and in a cooperative and helpful manner.
Pigors and Myers are of the view that a personnel administrator or an Industrial Relations Officer should bear the following points in mind while evaluating the success or otherwise of the grievance redressal procedure. i. Was the case handled in such a way that the parties involved in if were able to identify, and agree upon, what was at stake? ii. Was the incident closed with a sense of satisfaction on the part of everyone immediately involved in the original complaint? iii. Was the case handled in a way which strengthened the line authority, specially at the level immediately above that at which dissatisfaction was first expressed? v. Did the solution result in a better understanding and a better adjustment between the supervisor and his subordinate? v. As a result of this case, did this understanding spread among others in the management and in the trade union who were not directly involved in the original complaint? vi. Did the solution contribute to the operational efficiency of the organization? An analysis of successful grievance handling procedures indicates that the following factors are involved in them. The helpful attitude and support of the management; •Belief on the part of all concerned in the utility of the procedure. •Introduction of the procedure with the concurrence of the employees’ representative and their trade unions? •Simple, fair, easily comprehensible and expeditious grievance handling procedure containing a time limit for each step; •Codification of the company’s policies, rules and practices, and the availability of copies at different management levels involved in the handling of grievance redressal procedures? Delegation of appropriate authority so that action may be taken at all the levels of the management; •The functioning of the personnel department in an advisory capacity at all the levels of the managements; •A fact-oriented, instead of an employee-oriented, discussion of grievance; •Respect for the decision taken at each level of the management; •Adequate publicity given to the procedure and its achievements in the company and •A periodic review of the working of the procedure CERTAIN DO’S AND DON’TS IN HANDLING GRIEVANCES Do 1. Investigate and handle each and every case as though it may eventually result in an arbitration hearing. . Talk with the employee about his grievance; give him a good and full hearing. 3. Get the union to identify specific contractual provisions allegedly violated. 4. Enforce the contractual time limits. 5. Comply with the contractual time limits for the company to handle a grievance. 6. Determine whether all the procedural requirements, as dictated by the agreement, have been complied with. 7. Visit the work area where the grievance arose. 8. Determine if there were any witness. 9. Examine the relevant contract provisions, and understand the contract thoroughly. 10.
Determine if there has been equal treatment of employees. 11. Examine the grievant’s personal record. 12. Fully examine prior grievance record 13. Evaluate any political connotations of the grievance. 14. Permit a full hearing on the issues. 15. Identify the relief the union is seeking. 16. Treat the union representative as your equal. 17. Command the respect of the union representatives. 18. Hold your grievance discussions privately. 19. Provide the grievance process to non-union members as well. 20. Satisfy the union’s right to relevant information. 21. Demand that proper productivity levels be maintained uring the processing of incentive grievances. 22. Fully inform your own superior of grievance matters. DON’T 1. Discuss the case with the union steward alone; the grievant should definitely be there. 2. Make agreements with individuals that are inconsistent with the labour agreement. 3. Apply the grievance remedy to an improper grievance. 4. Hold back the remedy if the company is wrong. 5. Admit the binding effect of a past practice. 6. Relinquish your authority to the union. 7. Settle grievances on the basis of what is fair. Instead, stick to the labour agreement which, after all, should be your standard. . Make mutual consent agreements regarding future action. 9. Bargain over items not covered by the contract. 10. Concede implied limitations on your management’s rights. 11. Argue grievance issues off the work premises. 12. Treat as “arbitrable” claims demanding the disciplining or discharge of management members 13. Commit the company in areas beyond yours limits of responsibility or familiarity. 14. Give away your copy of the written grievance. 15. Discuss grievances of striking employees during an illegal work stoppage. 16. Settle a grievance when your are in doubt. 7. Support another supervisor in a hopeless case. 18. Refer a grievant to a different form of adjudication. 19. Overlook the precedent value of prior grievance settlement. 20. Give long written grievance answers. 21. Trade a grievance settlement for a grievance withdrawal (or try to “make up” for a bad decision in one grievance by “bending over backwards” in another). 22. Negate the management’s right to promulgate plant rules. 23. Deny grievances on the premise that “your hands have been tied by the managements. ” 24. Agree to informal amendments in the contract.
LEGISLATIVE ASPECTS OF THE GRIEVANCE REDRESSAL PROCEDURE IN INDIA Till the enactment of the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 the settlement of the day-to-day grievances of the workers did not receive much legislative attention: Clause 15 of the Model Standing Orders in Schedule I of the Industrial Employment Act specified that “all complaints arising out of employment, including those relating to unfair treatment and wrongful exactions on the part of the employer or his agent, shall be submitted to the manager or other person specified in this behalf of all the rights of appeal to the employer.
The Act has a limited applicability and applies only to establishments which employ 100 or more workers and which do no provide for bipartite discussions or for a prompt redressal of grievances. Under the factories Act of 1945, State Governments have framed rules, which enjoin upon Labour Welfare Officers to ensure the settlement of grievances. But this provision has not been helpful because of the dual role, which these labour officers are called upon to play.
In some industrial units, detailed grievance redressal procedures have been worked out by mutual agreement. In the absence of a satisfactory grievance procedure day-to-day grievances go on pilling up, with the result that the accumulated discontent of the employees sometimes culminates in strikes and acts of indiscipline and sabotage. It was because of this reason that the que3stion of formulating a proper and satisfactory grievance redressal procedure was referred to the Fifteenth Session of the Indian Labour Conference, held in 1957.
The code of Discipline, which was accepted at this conference, laid down that ” the management an unions will establish, upon a mutually agreed basis, a grievance procedure which will ensure a speedy and full investigation leading to a settlement. ” The guiding principles which were evolved under this Code of discipline, and the Model Grievance Procedure for adoption by management and labour, were settled in a tripartite Committee in September 1958 The guiding principles are : . Conformity with Existing Legislation: A procedure should form part of an integrated scheme which should promote satisfactory relations between employees and management. ii. Need for Simple and Expeditious Machinery: It was laid down that, as far as possible: a)A grievance should be settled at the lower level; b)No matter should ordinarily be taken up at more than two levels; c)Different types of grievances should be referred to appropriate bodies or authorities;. )A grievance should be redressed as expeditiously as possible. The employer, in consultation with his workers, should lay down the time limit within which a dispute would be settled. iii)Workmen Should Know Whom to Approach: For this purpose, it should be essential for the management to designate the authority or body to be contacted at various levels. ESSENCE OF A MODEL GRIVANCE PROCEDURE
A model grievance redressal procedure contains successive time bound steps, each leading to the next in the event of the non-acceptance verbally to a designated officer, who would communicate his decision on it to the employee within 48 hours, if the worker is dissatisfied with his decision, or if he fails to get the decision within the stipulated time limit of 48 hours, he would, accompanied by his departmental representative, present it personally to his head of the department. If the departmental head fails to give his ecision on the matter within three days, or if his decision is not acceptable to the employee, the latter may seek relief at the hands of the Grievance Committee consisting of the nominees of both the management and the workers. This committee would communicate its recommendation to the manager within seven days from the time the grievance is referred to it. If its recommendations are not made with this period, the reasons therefore would be recorded; and if a unanimous decision on the recommendations is not possible, the relevant papers would be placed before the manager for final disposal.
The manager is expected to communicate his decision to the employee within three days. If his decision is unacceptable to the employee, the latter has the right of appeal to a higher authority for revision of the manager’s decision; and the appeal must necessarily be decided and disposed of within a week of the submission of the petition by the aggrieved worker. The latter, if he so desires, can take with him a trade union official when he appears before the appellate authority.
If a mutually satisfactory decision on the grievance is not arrived at even at this late stage, the union and the management may agree upon voluntary arbitration within a week of the receipt of the management’s final decision. Various procedural matters are then dealt with. These are: i. When a grievance arises out of an order issued by the management, the order itself must be complied with before the procedure is activated; ii.
The right of the worker’s representative on the Grievance Committee to see a document and the right of the management’s representive to refuse to show a document of a confidential nature; in the latter case, confidential documents shall not be used against him; iii. There is a time limit of 72 hours within which an appeal can be taken from one step to another; iv. Payment for the time that has been spent on the redressal of a grievance; v.
In the vent of a grievance arising out of discharge or dismissal, the worker has the right to appeal either to the dismissing authority or to a senor body, specified for the purpose by the management, within a week from the date of dismissal or discharge. MODEL GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE A. GRIEVANCE MACHINERY A grievance machinery will be required to be set up in each undertaking to administer the grievance procedure. The minimum requirements of such a machinery would be as follows, except where and established procedure is already working to the mutual satisfaction of either party.
Even in the latter case, every effort shall be made to bring the procedure in conformity with the guiding principles (Annexure –A) For the purpose of constituting a fresh grievance machinery, workers in each department (and where a department is too small, in a group of departments) and each shift shall elect, from among themselves and for a period of not less than one year at a time, departmental representatives and forward the list of persons so elected to the management. Where the union(s) in the under5taking is/are in a position to submit an agreed list of names, recourse to election may not be necessary.
Nor will this be necessary when a works committee is functioning satisfactorily, for the works co9mmittee’s member of a particular constituency shall act ac the departmental representative. Correspondingly, the management shall designate the persons for each department who shall be approached at the first stage and the departmental heads for handling grievances at the second stage. Two or three of the departmental heads for handling nominated by management shall constitute of grievance committee, the composition of which is indicated in Annexure-B. n the case of appeals against discharge of dismissals, the management shall the authority to which appeals could be made. B. GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE While adaptations have to be made to meet special circumstances, such as those obtaining in the defense undertakings, the railways, plantations and in small undertakings employing a small number of workmen, the procedure normally envisaged in the handling of grievances should be as follows. 1. An aggrieved employee shall first present his grievance verbally in personal to the officer designated by the management for this purpose.
An answer shall be given to him within 48 hours of the presentation of the complaint. 2. If the worker is not satisfied with the decision of this officer, or fails to receive an answer within the stipulated period, he shall in person and/or accompanied by his departmental representative if required, present his grievance to the head of the department designated by the management for the purpose of handling grievances. ( for this purpose, fixed time shall be specified, during which or on any working day, an aggrieved worker may meet the departmental head for the presentation of his grievance. The departmental head shall give his decision with 3 days of the presentation of his grievance. If the action cannot be take within that period, the reason for the delay should be recorded. 3. If the decision of the departmental head is unsatisfactory, the aggrieved worker may request the forwarding of his grievance to the grievance committee, which shall make its recommendations to the manager within 7 days of the worker’s request. If the recommendations cannot be made within the time limit, the reason for such delay should be recorded.
The unanimous recommendations of the grievance committee shall be implemental by the management. In the event of a difference of opinion among the member of the grievance committee, the views of the members and the relevant papers shall be placed before the manager for final decision. In either case, the final decision of the management shall be communicated by the personnel officer to the worker concerned within 3 days of the receipt of the grievance committee’s officer to the worker concerned within 3 days of the receipt of grievance committee’s recommendations. 4.
If the decision of the management is not communicated to the worker within the stipulated period, or if it is unsatisfactory for him, he shall have the right to appeal to the management for a revision. In making this appeal, the worker, if he so desired, shall have the right to take union representative, present it personally to his head of the department. If the departmental head fails to give his decision on the matter within three days, or if his decision is not acceptable to the employee, the latter may seed relief at the hands of the Grievance committee consisting of the nominees of both the management and the workers.
This committee would communicate its recommendation to the manager within seven days from the time the grievance is referred to it. If its recommendations were not made within this period, the reasons therefore would be recorded; and if a unanimous decision on the recommendation were not possible, the relevant papers would be placed before the manager for final disposal. He manager is expected to communicate his decision to the employee within three days.
If his decision is unacceptable to the employee, the latter has the right of appeal to a higher authority for a revision of the manager’s decision; and the appeal must necessarily be decided and disposed of within a week of the submission of the petition by the aggrieved worker. The latter, if he so desires, can take with him a trade union official when he appears before the appellate authority. If a mutually satisfactory decision on the grievance is not arrived at even at this late stage, the union and the management may agree upon voluntary arbitration within a week of the receipt of the management’s final decision.
Various procedural matters are then dealt with. These are; i. When a grievance arises out of an order issued by the management, the order itself must be compiled with before the procedure is activated; ii. The right of the worker’s representative on the Grievance Committee to see a document and the right of the management’s representative to refuse to show a document of a confidential nature; in the latter case, confidential documents shall not be used against him iii. There is a time limit of 72 hours within which an appeal can be taken from one step to another iv.
Payment for the time that has been spent on the redressal of a grievance; v. In the event of a grievance arising out of discharge or dismissal, the worker has the right to appeal either to the dismissing authority or to a senior body, specified for the purpose by the management, within a week from the date of dismissal or discharge. CASE STUDY 1 Unfair Treatment A public limited financial company with a standing of over 25 years is having its branch officer in different cities. It has a total strength of about 500 officers, 300 clerical staff and about 800 subordinate staff members.
The corporation is having six different zones for the sake of convenience and each zone is having separate zonal manager looking after general administration of that zone and staff problems. There exist two separate unions in the organization. One union is having ever whelming majority all around and the other union is having fifty per cent majority in one region and meager following at the other regions and the central office. The Central Office Administration is manned by Chief Administrative Officer, two senior assistants and three junior officers.
It has clerical strength of 25 clerks and 5 subordinate staff members. Besides looking after daily problems at the Central Office, the departments is coordinating work of the six zonal offices. The minority union has come out with a complaint about the clerical staff from the Central Office Administration that since all of them are members of the majority union, they are giving favourable treatment to the members of their union and are purposely harassing the members of minority union in case of transfer and all such staff problems.
The Chief Administrative Officer convened a meeting of his staff over this issue to ascertain the facts. When he posed this problem before the staff members, they argued and refused the charge of favourable treatment to particular sector of employees. The staff members put forth the following arguments. They stated that with their posting in the Central Administration Department, they are even criticized by their own union. They accepted that even some of the points of administrative arrangement raised by the majority union could not be ttended to by them in many cases and hence the charges made against them of favourable treatment by the other union are baseless. They further stated that the minority union is having a very low membership as compared to the majority union and a few cases of inconvenience to some staff members are wrongly interpreted by them minority union or it is a purposeful action on their part. They also put concrete cases of inconvenience considered in the cases of staff members belonging to the minority union. CASE STUDY 2 Adjustment Problem
Twenty female employees of a large company were grouped together daily in an area measuring forty feet by forty feet to perform semi-skilled assembly work. Though the layout was far from ideal, it was accepted as “livable” at least as temporary quarters until construction of the new manufacturing facility was completed, and these women enjoyed their work. Their pleasure came mostly from the fact that they could talk freely about any subject that came to mind and still be able to do their jobs. They worked elbow to elbow and rarely failed to assemble their daily quota.
When the new manufacturing facility finally opened, the women were assigned to an area several times as large as their former quarters. The new plant was equipped with superior lighting, water fountains, windows and piped-in music. On the surface, these work conditions appeared ideal, no employee sat less than six feet away from any other. Management, however, became perplexed over the performance of this group of women after a few weeks in the new facility. Absenteeism increases, production lagged, complaints and grievances were numerous, and two of the women quit their jobs.
In a closed door conference with the Production Supervisor, the plant engineer and the manufacturing manager, the personnel director voiced his opinion about the unforeseen problems in the assembly department. In his opinion the women missed the personal contact with each other, missed the continuous conversation and other accustomed forms of social interaction and basically were resisting the change to the new location. The Personnel Director recommendation that Plant Engineer should do something about redesigning the layout to bring the women closed together even if it meant spending several thousand rupees to do it.