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Employee Relations: Deal With Globalization

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Question:

Discuss about the Employee Relations for Deal with Globalization.

 

Answer:

Introduction

This study will help to find out a proper solution of the problem that is faced by the workers of the organization related to labor violence. The organization, in spite of being a fast growing manufacturing company has no union in its workplace. The working conditions are not favorable for the workers and the wages provided by the management is not enough. Therefore, the workers are organizing against the company. As there is no union in the company, it is required to seek help from union outside of the organization.

Problems

  • Labor violation in the organization
  • Issues regarding workplace
  • Issues regarding employee wages

Objectives

  • To find out a union that can help the employees to organize against the company
  • To understand the responsibilities of the workers
  • To decide what union should do to deal with the issues

Scope of Work

In order to deal with the issues related to labor violation in the organization, the workers can seek help from trade union of their respective countries.  Trade unions are administrations that epitomize the welfares of the workers who work in the same or similar trades (Flynn et al., 2013).

Responsibility of workers

The law gives the right to every worker to join a trade union related to his industry. This right applies whether a union is recognized or not. Therefore, the workers of the organization will have to first join trade union related to manufacturing industry. For example, workers of China will have to seek help from All-China Federation of Trade Unions which is also known as ACFTU (Hui, 2014). It is the largest trade union in the world having 135 million members in 1,700,000 trade union organizations. However, the workers will not get help from ACFTU directly. They will have to consult with the National Committee of the Chinese Machinery, Metallurgical and Building Material Workers' Union which serves to protect the workers in manufacturing industry (Hui, 2014). Besides, the workers will also have to elect an employee representative who will represent other members fairly and effectively. However, the election of the employee representative must be done following trade union rules and regulations and agreements. The worker who will be elected as employee representative must have at least a year of work experience in the organization. After the election, the appointment will be confirmed the by the trade union by sending a writing confirmation to the organization.

How trade union can help

Trade union can help the workers who are facing issues because of poor workplace and lower wages in the following way,

Negotiation: In case of problems related to wage and workplace, the best process that trade union can use is negotiation. In this process, members of union including workers of the organization will meet with the managerial body to reach to a common ground of agreement over the issues (Egels-Zandén & Merk, 2014). The job of union members acting as negotiators will be to bring the nonaligned feature to the table and help resolve to make it a win-win situation for both the parties. Among several modes of negotiation, the trade union will choose which mode they will follow. For this case, horizontal interface would be preferable where people from either side meet and discuss the issues across the table (Seifert, 2014). In order to reach to a solution related to the problems the negotiating members should uphold the order in the following manner,

Reach to an agreement

Define the rights

Decide the department or persons who has the authority in the subject

List the things that must be avoided

 

Steps management can take

Once the trade union will show its interest to set up a meeting with the employers of the organization, the management will know that the employees are gathering against some wrong policies of the organization. The first thing the management will do is to realize that employees have joined union because of some disappointment on how management treats employees. They will also have to understand that now employees think that only the union can make the workplace better (Cooney & Stuart, 2013). Therefore, the management will have to figure out whether some things are in place or not such as fair policies and practices, open door management policies, modest pay and welfares and worker’s trust and recognition.

Next, the management will have to communicate with the employees to be sure that they understand the position of the organization and desire to remain union free and the reasons behind it (Silvia, 2014). However, the management will have to keep it in mind that no unfair labor practices must be implemented while communicating with the employees. Some things that the organization must not do are,

They must not threaten the workers by sacking them or by reducing their pay or benefits. They must not also take any steps against the employees that contain violence both physically and mentally (Dufresne, 2012).

The management must not adopt an interrogation mode by asking the non-union workers about the workers who have joined the union.

At any cost, the management must not promise lucrative rewards to the employees such as promotion, pay hike or other benefits for not supporting the union.

The management must not also spy on the employees as the workers have full rights to meet the union representatives and hear them out without any interference from the management (Dufour-Poirier & Lévesque, 2013).

Help for overseas workers

Once the negotiation process is done and the management has taken positive steps to eliminate issues related to wages and workplace issues, workers of country must inform this to the workers of the other country. For example, if the management of the company located in China is ready to make changes in wages and have promised to improve the workplace, then the workers should inform this to the workers of France. Then the workers of France can also put pressure on the management to bring the changes in their branch also. None of the organizations like to have union in their workplace. If workers of France can negotiate that they will not take help from the local trade union if the company approves their demands then it is obvious that the management will consider that.

Global nature of the business influences the organization and bargaining process

According to Mückenberger, (2016), globalization is not only affecting organizations but also reducing the bargaining power of the workers. Nowadays, organization can easily threaten to outsource their manufacture to countries where labor wages are comparatively cheaper and the labor market is less delimited. On the hand, pressure is given on the policy makers so that they can design the labor markets in way that can attract investors. Bargaining power of unionized employees who are immobile due to public sector engagement or low skills has also declined extremely. Besides, as a result of globalization, new policies are introduced that lead to a higher dominance of part-time job and fixed term contracts (Larsson, 2012). As a result, the bargaining power unions and workers are further weakened.  

It is also true that the limited appeal of union membership on a globalized world has facilitated lower unionization rates. A worker’s decision to become a union member is regarded as decision that trades off the benefits of union membership against its costs. With continuous dues and a regular level of time and energy required to perform activities of a union is forcing the members to leave union or not to sign up for the membership in the first place (Chaison, 2014). No union means management of an organization will not be forced to negotiate with the employees.

According to Kreickemeier & Meland (2013), increasing globalization has thrown a challenge to any governance institute with a scope limited to the nation-state. This mainly includes institutions of collective bargaining that is mainly shaped by national properties. That is why; it changes drastically across different countries. For example, one company might be giving different wages to the workers of different countries for performing the same task. In one country the wage might be lower than the standard wage. However, it is possible that in the other country the wage is lower but it is right according that country’s labor wage policies (Waddington, 2014). Now, if the workers of the country where the wage is lower that standard wage threatens the organization to increase their wage, then the organization will easily transfer that operational department in the second country where the all over labor wage is low. Therefore, the employees have no chance to negotiate with the employers.

Conclusion

From the above study, it can be stated that in order to deal the issues related to wages and poor workplace conditions, the employees can seek help from trade union of their respective country. By selecting a representative and with the help of the trade union officials, the workers of the organization can conduct a negotiation process in order to find out a solution for the problem. However, it is also seen that due to globalization, it is not sure whether workers from both the countries will be getting any positive results. It is possible that due to low labor wages in China, workers of the organization will not experience a hike in salary. However, as the labor wage is not low in France, the employees of the same company but in France can enjoy a hike.

 

References

Chaison, G. (2014). How the Unions Deal with Globalization. In The Unions’ Response to Globalization (pp. 19-50). Springer New York.

Cooney, R., & Stuart, M. (Eds.). (2013). Trade unions and workplace training: Issues and international perspectives. Routledge. Abington.

Dufour-Poirier, M., & Lévesque, C. (2013). 3 Building North-South Transnational Trade Union Alliances. Transnational Trade Unionism: Building Union Power, 8, 42.

Dufresne, A. (2012). Trade union support and political blockage: The actors’ viewpoint. European Journal of Industrial Relations, 18(2), 107-121.

Egels-Zandén, N. & Merk, J., (2014). Private regulation and trade union rights: Why codes of conduct have limited impact on trade union rights. Journal of Business Ethics, 123(3), pp.461-473.

Flynn, M., Upchurch, M., Muller-Camen, M., & Schroder, H. (2013). Trade union responses to ageing workforces in the UK and Germany. human relations, 66(1), 45-64. Chan, C. K. C., & Hui, E. S. I. (2014). The dynamics and dilemma of workplace trade union reform in China: the case of Honda workers’ strike. In Strategies of Multinational Corporations and Social Regulations (pp. 203-217). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

Kreickemeier, U., & Meland, F. (2013). Non‐traded Goods, Globalization and Union Influence. Economica, 80(320), 774-792.

Larsson, B. (2012). Obstacles to transnational trade union cooperation in Europe—results from a European survey. Industrial Relations Journal, 43(2), 152-170.

Mückenberger, U. (2016). Citizenship at work. A guiding principle for social and trade union policy. Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research, 22(1), 25-44.

Seifert, R. (2014). A living wage rather than a fair wage: trade union politics and the rise of inequality. Radical Statistics, (111), pp. 37-48.

Silvia, S. (2014, March). German Trade Unions Wrestle with Reform: The Transformation from the First to the Second Postwar Trade Union Movement. In 21st International Conference of Europeanists. Ces.2014.

Waddington, J. (2014). Trade union membership retention in Europe: The challenge of difficult times. European Journal of Industrial Relations, 0959680114538708.

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