Effective ways of Handling Grievance21st October 2020
Reasons for Grievances Handling
(i) Economic: Wages, overtime, bonus, etc.
(ii) Work environment: Poor working conditions, substandard equipments and machinery, defective tools, materials, etc.
(iii) Poor quality of supervision: Perceived notion of favouritism, nepotism, bias, etc.
(iv) Work organization: Rigid and unfair rules, lack of recognition, etc.
Normally grievances originate from managerial policies and practices, when the latter lack consistency, uniformity, equity, fair play, and the desired level of flexibility. Grievances also arise because of interpersonal problems of individual employees, and labour union practices aiming at reinforcing and consolidating their bargaining strength. The lack of proper communication between the employees and the management can also be a significant reason giving rise to grievances.
Grievances lead to:
(i) Low morale and commitment
(ii) Loss of interest in work
(iii) Low productivity
(iv) Increase in wastages and costs
(v) Increase in absenteeism
(vi) High employee turnover
(vii) Indiscipline among employees
(viii) Employees unrest.
Elements of a Sound Grievance Handling Procedure
The grievance handling procedure is very important for grievance handling in an organisation. It provides the clear-cult guidelines and shows the path to the managers how to solve the grievances. For smooth working it should have certain basic elements so that it can claim that is a good procedure for effective working.
The following elements for a sound grievance handling procedure are suggested:
(a) Well defined communication channels.
(b) The procedure should be simple, to understand.
(c) Properly defined steps for redressing of grievances.
(d) Should have logical sequence of steps.
(e) Favourable attitude of concerned authorities responsible for redressing.
(f) Fact base approach for redressal of grievances.
(g) Proper communication of procedure to all employees and authorities.
(h) Respect for decisions of redressing authority.
(i) Periodical review of grievance handling procedure.
Important Principles of Employee Grievance Handling
Principles or Guidelines for Grievance Handling:
For effective handling of grievances certain principles or guidelines can be followed with good results.
(i) Adequate time must be given for talking to employees, collecting data from and giving them various types of information needed.
(ii) In grievance-handling the representative of management should develop an attitude towards employees that should be instrumental in winning their confidence, loyalty and genuine cooperation. Management’s sincere interest and constructive willingness to help the employees should be displayed throughout.
(iii) A positive approach of management representatives indicating their full awareness of the specific issues as well as their desire and capabilities to carry out the entrusted responsibilities proves highly useful in gaining respect and cooperation.
(iv) In handling grievances, the management representatives must keep in focus not only the current impact of the grievances but also its effects in the long run along with its far distant implications. Thus, grievances should be handled in terms of their total effect on the organization and not solely their immediate or individual effect.
In this connection, the following list of Do’s and Don’ts grievances is useful.
- 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.
- Get the union to identify specific contractual provisions allegedly violated.
- Enforce the contractual time limits.
- Comply with the contractual time limits for the company to handle a grievance.
- Determine whether all the procedural requirements, as dictated by the agreements, have been complied with.
- Visit the work area where the grievances arose.
- Determine if there were any witnesses.
- Examine the relevant contract provisions, and understand the contract thoroughly.
- Determine if there has been equal treatment of employees.
- Examine the grievant’s personal record.
- Fully examine prior grievance records.
- Evaluate any political connotations of the grievance.
- Permit a full hearing on the issues.
- Identify the relief the union is seeking.
- Treat the union representative as your equal.
- Command the respect of the union representative.
- Hold your grievance discussions privately.
- Provide the grievance process to non-union members as well.
- Satisfy the union’s right to relevant information.
- Demand that proper productivity levels be maintained during the processing of incentive grievances.
- Fully inform your own superior of grievance matters.
- Discuss the case with the union steward alone; the grievant should definitely be there.
- Make agreements with individuals that are inconsistent with the labour agreement.
- Apply the grievance remedy to an improper grievance.
- Hold back the remedy if the company is wrong.
- Admit the binding effect of a past practice.
- Relinquish your authority to the union
- 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.
- Bargain over items not covered by the contract.
- Concede implied limitations on your management’s rights.
- Argue grievance issues off the work premises.
- Treat as “arbitrable” claims demanding the disciplining or discharge of management members.
- Commit the company in areas beyond your limits of responsibility of familiarity.
- Give away your copy of the written grievance.
- Discuss grievances of striking employees during an illegal work stoppage.
- Settle grievance when you are in doubt.
- Support another supervisor in a hopeless case.
- Refer a grievant to a different form of adjudication.
- Overlook the precedent value of prior grievance settlement.
- Give long written grievance answers.
- 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)
- Negate the management’s right to promulgate plant rules
- Deny grievances on the premise that “your hands have been tied by the management”.
- Agree to informal amendments in the contract.