Employee Grievances

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EMPLOYEE GRIEVANCES & DISCIPLINE

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In industrial context the word grievance is used in industrial context to designate claims by workers of a Trade Union concerning their individual or collective rights under an applicable collective agreement, individual contract of employment, law, regulations, work rules, custom or usage. Such claims involve questions relating to the interpretation or application of the rules. The term “Grievance” is used in countries to designate this type of claim, while in some other countries reference is made to disputes over “right” or “legal” disputes. The grounds for a grievance may be any measure or situation which concerns the relations between the employers and worker or which affects the conditions of employment of one or several workers in the undertaking when that measure or situation appears contrary to provisions of an applicable collective agreement or of an individual contract of employment, to work rules, to laws or regulations or to the custom or usage of the occupational branch of economy activity or country”. Causes for Grievance

Grievances generally arise from the day to day working relations in an undertaking, usually a worker or trade union protest against or act or omission of management that is considered to violate worker rights.

Grievances typically arise on such matters like discipline and dismissal, the payment of wages & other fringe benefits, working time, over time and time off entitlement, promotions, demotions and transfer, rights deriving from seniority, rights of supervisors and the Union officers, job classification problems, the relationship of works rules to the collective agreement and fulfillment of obligations relating to safety and health as laid down in the agreement.

Such grievances, if not dealt with a procedure that secures the respect of parties, can result in embitterment of the working relationship and a climate of industrial strife. Procedure for Settlement: It has been widely recognized that there should be an appropriate procedure through which the grievances of workers may be submitted and settled. This recognition is based both on consideration of fairness and justice, which requires that workers’ claims regarding their rights should receive fair and impartial determination, and on the desire to remove from the area of power conflict a type of dispute that can properly be settled through authoritative determination of the respective rights and obligations of parties.

Essence of Model Grievance Procedure:
The three cardinal principles of grievance settlement, under the procedure, are; 1. Settlement at the lowest level,
2. Settlement as expeditiously as possible; and
3. Settlement to the satisfaction of the aggrieved Like justice, grievance must not only be settled but also seem to be settled in the eyes of the aggrieved.

The Model Grievance Procedure has a three tier system for the settlement at the levels of the

1. immediate supervisor;
2. departmental or factory head;
3. and a bipartite grievance committee representing the management and the union, with a provision for the arbitration appeal to the organization head, and a specified time limit for the resolution process.

Views of the National Commission on Labour NCL has recommended that a formal grievance procedure should be introduced in units employing 100 or more workers and they are: 1. There should be a statutory backing for the formulation of an effective grievance procedure which should be simple, flexible, less cumbersome and more or less n the lines of Model Grievance Procedure, 2. It should be time bound and have a limited number of steps namely, approach to the immediate supervisory staff; appeal to the departmental head/manager; and appeal to the bipartite grievance committee representing management and the recognized Union. 3. A grievance procedure should be such that it gives a sense of satisfaction to the individual worker,...
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