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Employee Relation - Essay Example

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Industrial disputes are common in any nation and in any industry but public sector industrial relations can be differentiated from private sector industrial relations. The state as the employer has the power to initiate legislation and to take action that may an immediate impact…
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Employee Relation
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Download file to see previous pages This paper discusses the employee relations in a public sector organization – the UK Firefighters.
The UK Firefighters has always been associated with the heroism and skills of largely working class masculinity but the firefighters’ dispute gave it a different dimension – conflict and dispute of class and gender (Kaplan, 2000). This was one of the longest and the most serious industrial disputes in British history (Dinan, Ford, McConnell & Pyper, 2006). While the reasons for the dispute were many, when it precipitated a public safety emergency, the government was forced to deploy emergency plans. This was the first national strike by firefighters in 25 years and had several complex themes and issues intertwined together. The dispute had started in May 2002 when the Fire Brigades Union lodged a 40% pay claim which was rejected by the local authority employers. The local authorities were prepared to offer 4% pay increase and also link future increases to national pay deals. By September when the government felt that the negotiations were not heading anywhere, it sought an independent review. Based on the recommendations of the Bain Report, the government then added 7% as modernization package and also announced certain other benefits in working patterns and local pay additions. The FBU did not agree to any of these recommendations and first initiated a 48-hour strike in November followed by an eight-day strike from November 22. The FBU staged a series of walk-outs and pickets across Britain, suspending the national cover fire and forcing army ‘green goddesses’ to step in (Edwards, 2007). The two main issues at the heart of the dispute were – pay increase to be comparable or at par with other public services and the government led agenda of modernization based on the Bain Report was taken as an attack on the way that firefighters worked. The two issues were however interlinked because the modernization proposals linked pay to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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