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Managing Employee Relations HRM 20010
Ms Maeve Caraher

Module Housekeeping
• Module Outline on Blackboard – print it out
• No text book but ‘Core Readings’ available for download from Blackboard– START READING NOW! Do not fall behind.

• Additional reading list on the course outline = for those who want to do well • Assumed that you will be reading 6 hours per week (5 ECTS) → timetable some reading time each week NOW! • Take notes in lecture!

• Welcome to ‘Managing Employee Relations’!

Foxconn – Mass Suicide threat

Employee Relations in the news…….
• Workplace stress: – ‘One in 10 workers too busy to take break’ – ‘Stress will be main cause of workplace illness by 2020’ • ‘Absenteeism spike among HSE doctors and dentists’ • ‘A credit claims clerk has been awarded €24,000 in compensation by the EAT for unfair dismissals from Harvey Norman’ (lack of formal and proper HR management) • ‘Disability service to pay €116,000 to unfairly dismissed manager (genuine redundancy but process was defective) • ‘Applicants to employment tribunal facing long delays’ • ESRI/EA Report 16.01.2013: Black Africans have the highest rate of unemployment and the lowest rate of employment; this group also reports the highest rates of discrimination both in the workplace and when looking for work.

In your future ideal job
• What sort of employment conditions do you want? • What sort of intrinsic rewards do you want? • How do you want to be treated by management and other workers at work?

• Have you considered what elements are essential (i.e. dealbreakers) and what ones are optional?

Different views on people in organisations
• Accounting – Employees are costly factors of production on the balance sheet • Economics – Work is an economic transaction; labour is a commodity with the price set by market forces • Human Resource Management – Employees are resources to be used to maximise profits • In all these disciplines: – debates over work issues such as job security, work-life balance, equality, minimum wages, collective bargaining rights, and so on…… are all reduced to questions of competitiveness, productivity and labour cost, i.e. efficiency (Budd, 2004).

Employee Relations also includes ‘equity’ and ‘fairness’ • ‘A fair days pay for a fair days work’? • For economics, the market rewards people for what they are worth (i.e. their productivity) – The low-paid are badly paid, not because they are paid less than they are worth, but because they are worth appallingly little (Hicks, 1963).

• But, if we apply the logic that people get paid what they are worth to a contemporary issue……

The Gender Pay Gap
• How do we explain that women get paid less than men (18% less)? -

The gender pay gap for average hourly earnings in Ireland in 2008 was 17.8% (2010 EU report) In the UK, the median hourly earnings pay gap in the private sector is 27.5% (ONS 2010) In the UK financial sector, the pay gap is 40% (Metcalf and Rolfe, 2009) Female executives “could wait 98 year for equal pay” (Chartered Management Institute report, 2011)

• Hicks would surely argue that women are paid less than men because they are worth less than men! • Discrimination, power relations and social structures are ignored in a purely market based explanation.

For Employee Relations….
• ‘Equity’ is important:
– Job and income security
– Minimum wages and a ‘living wage’

– Equal pay for men and women for work of equal value
– Freedom of association to join a union and be represented by same

– Family-friendly policies
– Fair treatment

– Worker participation in decisions that affect them.

• ‘Efficiency’ is also important
– The right of owners to make a profit from a successful business

– The need for firms to be competitive, to create wealth, to employ people, to expand…. – But within some boundaries set by society.

So, Employee Relations is about…
• …. the balancing of competing and legitimate interests – A certain...
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