Settlement of grievances specially in manufacturing sectors

Grievance management

Organisations are a part of society and employee has certain expectations which must be fulfilled by the organisation where he is working. Due to different social background and various psychological factors employees occasionally have to be uncomfortable or aggrieved about certain managerial decisions, practices or service conditions.

In some cases, the employees have complaints against their employers, while in others it is the employers who have a grievance against their employees. For smooth selling of the organisation, it is necessary to pay immediate attention on these grievances and complaints.

Dale Yader defines a grievance as “a written complaint filed by an employee and claiming unfair treatment. Keith Davis, defines a grievance as “any real or imagined feeling of personal injustice which an employee has concerning his employment relationship.”

Grievance management concept

Emergence of grievance is a natural outcome of interaction among people, whether in organizational context or in other context. In the organizational context, employees may have some grievances against employer; in the same way, employer may have grievances, against employees. Grievance is a state of dissatisfaction over some issues related to employment. Generally, expression of this dissatisfaction-is known as grievance.

National Commission on Labour (India) has taken the view that “complaints affecting one or more individual workers in respect of wage payments, overtime, leave, transfer, promotion, seniority, work assignment, and other discharges constitute grievances.”

Based on the above definitions, we may derive that:

Grievance is a feeling of an employee that an injustice has been done to him.

2. The feeling may be valid and legitimate, or untrue; and may arise out of something connected with the work or the organization.

When employees have grievances and these are not redressed properly, these result in frustration, discontent, and indifference to work, poor morale, and low productivity. Accumulated grievances among employees may lead to turmoil in the organization.

Forms of Grievance : Factual, imaginary and Disguised

A Grievance may take any one of the following forms:

(i) Factual :

Factual grievances arise when legitimate needs of employees remain unfulfilled, e.g., wage hike has been agreed but not implemented.

(ii) Imaginary:

When an employee’s grievance is because of wrong perception, wrong atti­tude or wrong information. Though it is not the fault of management, the responsibility for their redressal still rents with the management.

(iii) Disguised:

An employee may have dissatisfaction for reasons that are unknown to himself. If he or she is under pressure from family, friends, relatives, neighbours, he or she may reach the work spot with a heavy heart. If a new recruit gets a new table and cupboard, this may become an eye shore to other employees who have not been treated like wise previously.

Identification of Grievance : 5 proactive methods of addressing Grievance

Grievance should be redressed by adopting proactive approach rather than reactive approach. The proactive approach addresses the factors responsible for emergence of grievance. In other words, management does not allow grievance causing situation to emerge. But in reactive approach, a particular grievance gets redressed but the underlying cause continues to exist. Unless it is rooted out lock, stock and barrel, there cannot be any permanent solution.

The following are the proactive methods of addressing Grievance:

(i) Exit Interview: Information collected from the exiting employee on various aspects of working conditions forcing him to quit is supposed to be more credible than those expressed by the existing workers.

(ii) Gripe Box System: Employees may be encouraged to drop anonymous complaints as they may fear that their identity may invite victimisation especially when they complain against the management. This method is more appropriate when there is lack of trust and understanding between employees and their supervisors.

(iii) Opinion Survey: Various surveys line morale survey, attitude survey, job satisfaction survey, grievance survey or comprehensive survey comprising all the above aspects, reveal vital inputs about the negative aspects of functioning of the organization. Since the survey is conducted by persons other than the supervisor and the respondent’s identify is not insisted upon, information collected is likely to be reliable.

(iv) Meetings: Group meeting, periodical interviews, collective bargaining sessions, informal get-togethers may be used to collect information about grievances.

(v) Open-door policy : Under this policy any employee can lodge complaint or file his grievance with the manager designated for this purpose. The very objective of this policy is to encourage upward communication.

Causes of Grievance in industrial organisation:

Grievances typically arise on such questions as discipline and dismissal, the payment of wages and other fringe benefits, working time, over-time and time-off entitlements, promotions, demotion and transfer, rights deriving from seniority rights of supervisors and union officers, job classification problems, the relationships of work rules to the collective agreement and the fulfilment of obligations relating to safety and health laid down in the agreement.

Such grievances, if not dealt with in accordance with a procedure that secures the respect of the parties, can result in embitterment of the working relationship and a climate of industrial strife.

Grievance resulting from working conditions:

  • Strained employer – employee relationship
  • Tight production standards
  • Unfavourable physical conditions such as excessive heat , low temperature , excessive humidity etc.
  • Change in schedule or procedure
  • Mismatch between the job and the worker

Grievances arising from management policy:

  • Wage Payment
  • job rates
  • Leave and overtime
  • seniority and Promotion
  • Role ambiguity
  • Disciplinary action
  • Absence of employee development plan

Grievance resulting from personal maladjustment :

  • Over-ambition
  • Excessive self-esteem
  • Impractical attitude to life

Model Grievance procedure in India:

The Grievance procedure issue was discussed in the 15th session of Indian labour conference held in 1957. In the 16th session of the conference (1958), model Grievance procedure was prepared .

The steps in procedure (as per the model Grievance procedure) will be as follows:

Step:1 Grievance is to be submitted in writing to the departmental representative of the management. Here the aggrieved worker can take the help of this union representative. He (departmental representative) has to be replay with in 48 hour.

Step:2 If the matter is not settled at the level , the aggrieved worker can take the matter to the head of the department who has room give the decision with in 3 days.

Step:3 If concerned worker is not satisfied at this stage, he can take his Grievance to the grievance committee. This committee must make it recommendation to the management with in 7 days. The final; decision of the management on the report of the committee is to be communicate to the concerned worker with in 3 days of receipt.

Step:4 If the worker is not satisfied even at this stage , he can make appeal for revision to the management and the management has to communicate its decision to concerned worker with 7 days.

Step:5 In the final stage , the Grievance may be referred to voluntary arbitration.

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