Schweppes

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Explain the nature of a workplace dispute that has occurred in the past 24 months.

The Schweppes workplace dispute debacle was action surrounded by controversy from the employers and the employees, kick starting in December 2011. The dispute started over the company’s plans to introduce longer working hours – 12-hour shifts. This was to the dismay of 155 employees who, in turn took industrial action against the plan. The workers introduced 60-minute periods where work was stopped in Schweppes bottling plant over a period of time. However the company met this industrial action by the employees with a swift and stark reply. Schweppes induced a lockout on its workers, forcing them to stop work altogether as it had resulted in “significantly compromising production” for the company. (Schweppes, December 2011). However, the company then ironically tried to dismiss the lockout in the best interests of its employees, citing that the company itself believed the lockout would leave the employees economically and financially strained. Even though Schweppes tried twice to rid the lockout, the union noted in court that it was useful to remember that Schweppes was the cause of all the harm, and the action itself and therefore was only trying to regain lost credibility and ‘likeability’. Throughout the dispute, Schweppes gained a lot of media attention, and even though some say any publicity is good publicity – this was not the case for Schweppes. The possible loss of goodwill, employee trust and - by the issue rising all the way to court before a settlement was agreed – the loss of a positive work environment, where employees want to go perform to the best of their abilities, impacted the business dramatically. However, economically the company came through the dispute soundly. Even though they locked out workers who without the financial input from Schweppes could have only sustained 5-6 weeks (Professor Ian Harper, 2012), consumers still went to shops and purchased their...
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