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F601 Employee Relations

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The purpose of this assignment is test learners understanding of the importance of good employee relations for business success, nature of industrial conflict and resolution mechanisms, collective bargaining and negotiation processes and the concept of employee participation and involvement.

Part 1 – UK specific

It is accepted that there are varying perspectives (unitarist, pluralist, radical/maxist) when it comes to interpreting employee-employer relationship and conflict in organisations. Fox (1966) used the term ‘frame of reference’ to explain the nature of these perspectives. Leat (2003) noted that the three perspectives are somewhat idealised and hybrid viewpoints are common and it is important to realise your own views and values and therefore your own perspective on the employment relationship

Your task is to research the UK’s history of employment relations and produce a short report covering;

  1. The different frames of reference explaining the implications of each of the perspectives as a means for handling employment relations.
  2. Assess how changes in trade unionism have affected employee relations in the UK.
  3. Explain the roles of the following key players in employment relations.
  1.   Employer
  2. Employee
  3. Trade Unions
  4. Employer associations
  5. Government

Part 2 Case Study: Junior doctors contract dispute

Negotiations between the British Medical Association (BMA), NHS Employers and the government over new junior doctors' contracts began in October 2013. In November 2015 members of the BMA voted to strike over their continuing disagreement with the government.

Negotiations in May resulted in a contract for junior doctors being agreed between the government, the British Medical Association (BMA) and NHS Employers. But members of the BMA voted against it. The government is going to phase the new contract in from October 2016. A judicial review of whether this is legal will take place in September (Fullfact, 2016).

In 2016, 322,000 working days were lost compared with 170,000 the previous year. The junior doctors' dispute over new contracts in England accounted for 129,000 lost working days, 40 per cent of the total (The Telegraph, 2017).

Research and explore this dispute further and use the information collected to answer the following questions;

  1. Explain the procedures an organisation such as the NHS should follow when dealing with different conflict situations (single employee, between employees, with a group of employees).
  1. Explain the key features of employee relations with reference to this conflict situation (considering ideological frameworks, conflict and cooperation, consultation, negotiation etc.).
  1. Evaluate the effectiveness of the procedures followed in resolving this conflict.
  1. Explain the role negotiation plays when collectively bargaining as in this conflict.
  1. Identify various negotiation strategies and assess the impact of each strategy in light of this conflict.

Part 3 – EU perspective

The EU has a fundamental role to play with regards to improving employment relation matters across its member states. A diverse range of treaty provisions and directives have been adopted which provide important employment protections, safeguard health and safety, and promote equality in the workplace (TUC). Your task will be to investigate in more detail the work of the EU using an organisation you are familiar with to answer the following;

  1. Assess the influence of the EU on industrial democracy in the UK and how it is likely to change after UK exit the EU.
  1. Compare various methods that are used to gain employee participation and involvement in the decision making process in any organisation you are familiar with.
  1. Assess the impact human resource management approach has had on employee relations citing Harvard, Michigan or models.
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