The term Human Resources Management (HRM) simply means the processes of managing people in an organization. The main functions of HRM includes employing people, training the employees, utilizing their skills, maintaining and compensating them to meet the organizational requirements.HRM functions as the backbone of most of the organizations because humans are organization's greatest assets. So it is very essential to maintain a good relationship between the employees and the management for the smooth and effective running of the organization. In general at smaller organizations, where less than hundred people are employed, may not have a separate human resource department, a manager will be in charge for HR activities. But in large organizations there will be a human resource department for smooth running and Human Resources manager will directly report to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company.
Employment relationship is key factor determining the success of an organization. Generally employees are performing work under certain conditions in return for remuneration. As we can see sometimes there are conflicts between the employers and employees in an organization, which may lead to boycotts and lockouts. In an enterprise a number of workers are united for the purpose of organizing relationship between themselves and the employer is called a union. Globally there are mainly three kinds of unions, industrial union, trade union and employee association. The labour relation act no: 66 of 1995 states all the registered unions rights like right to called meetings on the employers premises, the right to access etc.The reasons for employers want to join in a union are job security, wages and benefit, working conditions etc.
Employers' organization:-the labour relations act also grants similar rights to employers relating to freedom of association. All the employers have the right to join and participate in the lawful activities of their association, which should be registered legally.
Bargaining impasse:-It is proved that collective bargaining is more effective for solving the dispute between labours and employers. In common cases the conflict between them will end with a contract signed by both the parties after the negotiations. To achieve the organizational goals in a proper and effective manner the dispute free operations from the part of both the employers and employees are very much needed. But in some cases the dispute between employees and employers cannot be solved through negotiations, it may happen at situations like dealing with wages, pensions, renewing contracts etc and will lead to situations strikes, boycotts, lockouts etc.
Strikes and boycotts are offensive weapons employed by labour unions in the welfare against employer. A strike normally called from the part of employees with the purpose of preventing workers from doing their job and thus compelling the employers to grand their demands. A strike is considered as a basic union activity. Legally labour unions must have to give written notifications to the company and government agency, at least seven days before the commencement of strike. This is considered as a group activity by the labour unions and employees against the employers rather than individual.
According to Industrial Disputes Act 1947, a strike is "a cessation of work by a body of persons employed in an industry acting in combination; or a concerted refusal of any number of persons who are or have been so employed to continue to work or to accept employment; or a refusal under a common understanding of any number of such persons to continue to work or to accept employment".
There are many reasons for strike, which are normally
Regarding the salaries or wages and benefits like bonuses, pension etc
- Against the company policies
- Working hours or shifts
- Against the minimum wages and increments in the wages
- Loss of jobs due to the closure of company
- Any withdrawal of employees concession
Based on the situations there are different types of strikes such as
Economic strikes:-As the name indicates this will be normally against the economic issues like working conditions, wages and benefits.
Grievance strike: - this kind of strike will be called when members of the union are not agreeing with the way management solves the problem.
Secondary strike: - this is also known as sympathy strike. This is a particular kind of situation in which employees agreed to a work stoppage, which is not against the activities of their own employers, but for supporting the union members working for other organizations.
Wild cat strike: - this kind of strike takes place with an immediate impact, there will be no previous warning before it takes place.
Sit down Strike:-Employees refused to leave the work place when they are on strike. But they do not work on that time and keep control over the production. This may lead to a very difficult situation for the employers to manage the situation.
Slow Down Strike:-these case employees do not stop working; instead they limited or slow down the production to a certain limit which is below the normal production rate.
Sick Out or Sick In:-This is a kind of strike in which all or majority of employees in a union call sick on the same day. The sudden loose of employees may affect the situation badly.
METHODS USED BY EMPLOYERS AGAINST THE STRIKE
Employees use strike and boycott as their weapons against the employers activities, where as the employers on the other hand use lockouts and strike breakers as their weapons against employees. After a strike been declared by the employees or trade union the employer need to take a few steps to deal with the strikes successfully. The common methods used by most of the companies are strike preparation, strike breaking, union busting and lockouts.
Lockouts are employer's weapon to prevent employees from their work based on certain rules and regulations, written notifications to be given at least seven days in advance to the workers or labour unions and the government agency
Management team (from the employer side) also use a number of techniques to compel employees in order to meet their demands and goals of the organization.
A company named Rico in India, which produces engine, transmission and breaking and suspension parts, one of the main suppliers to big companies like Marti Suzuki and Hero Honda in domestic and Ford and General Motors in international markets. Employees forced to work restless to meet the high demand of products. Employers of the Rico went for a 45 days strike demanding de risking of operations at the factory, which lead to suspension of some employees. Due to strike they were unable to supply components to the auto companies, as a result of these companies had to shut the production or slow down it. And finally managing Director of Rico agreed to solve the problem with the employees.Rico is setting up two or three new plants to meet the excess demand over supply and thus de-risking the operations. And the company also agreed to reinstate the suspended employees.
On 29th of January 2009 a general strike performed in France against the president Sarkozy's approach towards the workers. Peoples from all over the nation took part in strike because of the huge rate of unemployment after the recent economic crises. They said Sarkozy done very little to prevent the unemployment which is predicted to 10% by next year. Which lead to work stoppage in all sectors including airlines, banks, nurses etc. Earlier Sarkozy declared a package of £26 billion to help the industries, but the union leaders demanded him to follow the Britain's steps and more help to consumers as well.
The energy sector employees called a strike in Britain aginst employing foreign workers in a French oil company at northern England. According to them in Unite Kingdom people are losing their jobs recently due to recession, they demanded the company should employee workers from England as well [February 2009].
Hyundai Motors, one of the famous automobile companies in India, where the employees went on strike. The management warned them strictly they will be shifting the manufacturing of i 20 products to Europe as there is greater demand for i 20.
A nationwide strike in the public sector oils in India, which occurred January 2009, lasted for three days. The workers demanded increase in their salaries, and 45000 employees from three companies took part in strike. This lead to shortage of petroleum products all over India. But the government is not willing to accept the workers demand at all. They threatened the employees that strong actions such as arrest and dismissals would be taken if they are not reporting to work. At last by evening of third day most of the employees went back to work, threat came to an effect.
"A boycott is a form of consumer activism involving the act of voluntarily abstaining from using, buying, or dealing with a person, organization, or country as an expression of protest, usually for political reasons" In most of the countries boycotts are legal.
The term boycott is related to the name of "Charles Boycott", was an estate agent in Ireland during 1880's .He denied the demand of his protested tenants about the decrease in the rent, which they are paying, and he evacuated them from the land as well. This lead to a situation like violence and all the workers went on strike. The people in the locality were refused to purchase from him and local business men stopped purchasing from him.
The state-owned bank employees in India went on a two day nationwide strike in September 2008 against the government action to merge banks and their salaries.The government planned a merging of State Bank of India, nation's biggest bank, with in a one year time span.
This strike affected the normal transactions over 50.000 branches, including over 15000 branches of state bank of India and its six subdiaries.
Normal cases picketing is legal and does not involve any violences.This is situation in which workers are on strike, stand to the entrance of their work place and persuade workers entering in to the work. The main purpose is to get public attention in to matter and shows there is some conflict between the employees and the employer.
The members of Association of National Public Employees in Chile went for a series of strikes in November 2008.All public sector workers took part in this strike, which is called against the government's refusal to pay the minimum salaries to the workers, and also demanded a 14% increase for the year 2009 because economic inflation and increasing tax rate.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees planned a boycott in earlier 2009 in oppose to the Israeli activities in Gaza. They planned to prevent all Israeli academics from teaching, studying and doing researches at Ontario universities until they give up the Gaza attacks
Alternative Dispute Resolution
The procedures used to resolve the dispute between employees and employers in an organization is known as Alternative Dispute Solution (ADR).The common techniques used in dispute solving are Ombudsman, Conciliation, Mediation, Arbitration, Adjudication, Early neutral evaluation and Expert determination. There is no specific ADR method to resolve a particular kind of dispute. The parties can choose any one or a combination of these methods depending on the nature and sources of dispute.
In arbitration an independent third party make the decision to resolve the problem, based on the Arbitration Act 1996. An arbitration tribunal hears the case from both the parties, they are legally binding. So the parties cannot go to the court against the arbitration tribute. But compared to court, arbitration is considered as private. Decision making is faster, cost effective and less formal than court. Arbitration is most effective in handling some kinds of disputes such as shipping, whereas which is not ideal for situations like road traffic and accident claims. Arbitration is commonly used to resolve international dispute, consumer disputes and major company issues.
In this method a dispute between two parties has been solved with the help of a third party called mediator. Here mediator tries to find out a solution which is acceptable for both the parties. This will be more effective in minor disputes. This method can be used in all kind of situations, most of the cases mediator is a single person.