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Campaign of Underground Workers - Essay Example

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Name of student: Topic: Lecturer: Date of Presentation: Introduction Industrial relation refers to ‘the study of all forms of employment relationship’ whereby employment refers to ‘all forms of economic activity in which employee works under authority of employer and receives a wage in return’ (Gospel & Palmer 1993: 4)…
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Campaign of Underground Workers
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Download file to see previous pages According to Kaufman (2004), industrial relations have three faces which include science building, problem solving and the ethical face. Science building involves understanding the employment relationship and its institutions. Problem solving entails designing policies to and institutions so as to enhance the relationship while ethical face is concerned with the principles of employment relationship. In any relationship, there are bound to be conflicts hence in the employment relationship, conflicts are inevitable and it is the role of management to devise ways of ensuring they are dealt with in an appropriate manner to avoid consequences such as strikes and lock-outs. There are three management perspectives regarding conflicts in organizations. The unitarist perspective views conflict as irrational and illegitimate hence does not recognize the role of unions. The pluralist perspective recognizes the existence of different interests among stakeholders hence conflict is inevitable. The radicalist perspective, on the other hand, is f the view that conflict in organizations is as a result of inequalities in income and wealth distribution hence recognizes different forms of eliminating or reducing conflict (Kaufman, 2004). The system of management thus determines the king of employment relationship in the workplace; some organizations are unionisable while others prefer a direct relationship with employees as it is a management prerogative. Poor industrial relations can lead to industrial action in the form of strikes, lock-outs, walkouts among others and may hinder organization efficiency and productivity. The paper will discuss the effect of strike action on employment relationship with reference to London underground workers campaigns during the 1990s. To understand industrial relations in Britain and the effects of strike actions on employment relationship, it is important to understand the historical evolution of industrial relations in Britain. Edward (2003a) acknowledges that industrial relations in Britain began as early as 1920s followed by personnel management practices and later human resource management in 1980s. The IR thus has undergone various transformations shaped by social, political and economic factors. British IR was voluntarism in nature guided by free-market principles; an organization can decide to unionize staff though collective organizations and uniting in strike action was regarded as a restraint to the free market therefore, those found guilty of conspiracy were liable to fines, imprisonment, and deportation (Hyman, 2003). Contrary to practices in other countries, in Britain there was no right to strike or to organize in an attempt to make demands to the management, only immunities were available in some areas. The immunities were also contradictory in nature as they gave employees power which in reality was limited by equal entitlements to the employer. For example, employees were free to join unions but the management was also free to dismiss anyone for joining the union. Collective bargaining was allowed but the management had the discretion to decide which issues to negotiate and which ones to refuse. The employees were also in breach of their employment contracts if they engaged in strike action but at the same time, it was lawful to call a strike. The employers were also reluctant and unwilling to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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