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In this assessment, you will be continuing your detailed examination of the NSW train workers’ dispute of January 2018. 

(i) Thinking of the major parties that were involved in this dispute, and reports in the public domain on the processes that were followed, what were the specific points of conflict that were evident?  For each point of conflict that you identify, explain the exact interrelationship among the parties and processes that was causing the conflict.

(ii) Using relevant theories that you have studied in this subject, locate the positions taken by each of the parties in these points of conflict and then recommend what adjustments could have been made by each party to prevent the dispute.

(iii) In this task, you will be responding to a curated set of ideas and perspectives of fellow students in the class, provided in Assessment 1. A selection of ideas and perspectives of students in the class will be provided to you soon after the return date for Assessment 1. 

(iv) Select one idea or perspective and provide an evidence-based counterargument, using scholarly sources on IR theories, your own critical thinking and, if appropriate, your own experience.

Major Parties and Points of Conflict

The Rail Tram and Bus Union workers were involved in the strike because the wages provided to them were quite low, which was the major cause of the dispute. Based on their statements, industrial actions were needed to be undertaken when the NSW and Sydney trains management did not negotiate a proper enterprise agreement with the workers. RTBU wanted a hike of 6 percent in their annual pay, though the Government ignored the case situation and only managed to increase it by 2.5 percent. The topic will illustrate how the conflict will be resolved and the approaches followed based on the international relations theories (Armstrong & Taylor, 2014).

The major parties involved with the NSW train disputes are the managers, management staffs, public station and the RTBU. The strike was caused due to the issues associated with the paying of wages, working conditions and other things that are responsible for creating lack of interest among the parties. The Sydney train failed to resolve the pay related disputes, due to which, the NSW workers started to strike (Alfes et al., 2013).

Based on the case study, it could be seen that there were conflicts and war of words between the Union Secretary of NSW and the Transport Minister as well, who were reluctant and even were not influenced with the actions that were needed to be taken regarding the hike in wages annually that the Union workers wanted. The Strike started from 12.01 am in the 29th of January, 2018. The RTBU Union possess roles and responsibilities of managing the authorship and enforcement of various rules and regulations that can assist in managing good employment relationships, furthermore engage the staffs working in NSW rail by uniting them to demand for hike in wages (Brewster, Chung& Sparrow, 2016). The collective voice of the Union members and useful for sharing or exchange of information between the employers and employees regarding the employment conditions, furthermore ensure that the issues are resolved as quickly as possible. The roles of Unions also include the involvement of third parties who can manage the trsut, loyalty and commitment of employees to foster unity, togetherness and ensure working as an unit to resolve the issues.

The management department is responsible for managing the human resources and ensures utilizing proper leadership skills and behaviors required to define the vision, mission and organizational goals and objectives easily. This will assist in monitoring the performances and even take care of their needs and preferences, so that they can perform to their potential and commit themselves fully to the accomplishment of business goals and objectives with ease and efficiency (Marchington et al., 2016). The management of leadership skills is necessary and because of the involvement of a manger or leader, the human resources are managed properly. Thus, the management position is quite noteworthy considering the fact that the staffs are managed wisely along with the creation of a high performing workforce to foster productivity, higher level of engagement between the employees and employer as well (Purce, 2014).

Theoretical Positions and Solutions

The Government and regulatory bodies are external forces that affect the employment relationships in case the rules and regulations set by them are beyond the employees’ assumptions and activities. Here the employees seek hike in wages, which was totally ignored by the Government, rather only a 2.5 percent hike was planned in spite of the 6 percent hike demanded by the employees working for NSW Rail. Based on the Unitarism theory, the human resource management ensures proper managerial authority to manage the staffs and ensuring that the employers and employees have similar kinds of goals and objectives to be achieved (Aswathappa, 2013). The Government holds good position in regulating the rail networks and thus the Regulatory bodies and Government must be cautious about the employee needs and fulfill those to make the employees remain satisfied and commit to their job roles effectively.

According to pluralism, the management role is to advance the interests of the employees of the organization and understand the needs of other stakeholders too. The roles of employees include fulfillment of personal interests while at the same time, understand the importance of management’s interests and how can those be fulfilled to keep the employers and employees happy. The Unions do sometimes can challenge the decisions made by management and have the power to compromise, just as the case study illustrates where the Unions have been involving the employees and creating Unity to ensure that the wages are increased. Based on pluralism, the management role is to ensure understanding the conflicting interests while the Union needs to work according to the interests of employees and make compromises to undertake any actions needed to resolve the issue (Reiche, Harzing&Tenzer, 2018). Based on the interrelationship between the Labor Government and ACTU, employment relations are facilitated with the actions undertaken by the trade unions and employers. Thus, from the perspective of radicalism, the employment relationship has created a interest conflict between the employers and employees, which should be resolved by proper negotiations and compromises made (Pha, 2018).  

The three different kinds of business strategiesproposed by Porter are cost leadership, differentiation and focus, all of which are focused on achieving competitive advantage in business. The cost leadership strategy could enable the railway network to become one of the lowest cost competitors by providing services at very lower prices to the clients while the development of unique products and services that can provide superior value and benefits are considered as differentiation. The focus strategy is prioritized on the targeting a specific market segment and focus on that only to ensuremaximum revenue generation by fulfilling the demands and expectations of customers (Bolton, 2015).

Counterargument to Student Perspectives

The collective bargaining enables setting various rules and regulations that can control the employment relationships and form a great association between the employer and employees. The collective agreements are made and as it can be seen from the case study involving the train strike due to lower wages and bad working conditions, etc (Jackson&Sørensen, 2016). The collective bargaining is an important part of collective agreement that ensures making the employees work as an unit with the involvement of unions and negotiate with the employers too. The bargainingcould enable agreement between both the parties and make a decision with the consent of both the parties willingly (Miley, 2015). The collective bargaining would include theworkforce and abide by the terms and conditions based onthe collective agreement making, which could further improve the decision making process as well as fulfill the legal rights and obligations.

The procedural rules include the statutory regulations that are bound within the National Employment standards. It should make necessary work adjustments and provide the employees with good and flexible working conditions while under the Australian Fair Pay Act, the performances of theirs should be monitored and assessed and then there could be decisions regarding the hike inwages (Langron, 2016).

To resolve the industrial conflicts, it is important to identify the causes at first and here the major causes were poor wages structure and inflexible working conditions. Based on the pluralism, the employment relationship structure should identify the potential and risks of conflicts that might emerge while the radicalism theory could propose the conflicts based on reflection of the entire scenario (Dunne, Kurki& Smith, 2013). From the case study, the industrial conflicts have arisen due to the employers who have exerted control and pressurized the employees to improve the production level. The employees, on the other hand, expected increased compensation and growth opportunitiesthrough flexible work conditions, which were not provided and thus the concerns finally emerged as asking for hike in wages, which created the strike in NSW (Cappelli& Keller, 2014).

According to the various theories, it could be found that the pluralists included the unions and managers to empower an association and create better guidelines, rules and regulations. It should be important to focus on the needs of the Sydney train clients at first before undertaking any strike action, which could lead to certain complexities. It was found that the train workers were provided with a base salary of $75000 in New South Wales whereas the Government has prioritized on the average wages provided to them, being $113000 considering the allowances, superannuation and rates of penalty (Dess, Lumpkin & Eisner, 2014). The Unions and train spokesman should discuss about the matter and notify the clients about the strike and about the network impacts that might be caused along with the possible alternative options of transport during the time period. This would also be possible with the recovering of proper notice from the Unions about the planned industrial action that should be undertaken within quick time (Troy, 2016). Both the managers and Unions should consult with the Transport Minister and Government bodies to adopt a pluralist approach that could favor in advancing the employee interests and at the same time, take the responsibility of makingcompromises along with the accomplishment of business goals and objectives with much ease and effectiveness (Richardson, 2013). In case both the parties seemed to continue with the debates and consider opposing the unitarism and radicalism approaches, the chances of resolving the dispute and come to a good conclusion should be very less. There must be negotiations and the management should possess enough authority to keep the needs of staffs in mind and resolve the conflict through processes that might be available. Based on the various approaches undertaken, the outcomes seemed to be positive, because finally, the bargaining with the offer of 2.5 percent hike in wages was replaced with a counter offer of 3 percent (Lillie, 2013).

  • It is recommended to create laws, rules and regulations of the employment relationship and that must be approved by the legislation bodies, according to the National Employment standards.
  • Based on the Australian Fair Pay Act and Condition standards, it must be ensured that the major legislative conditions are considered including the minimum wages, working hours, parental and sick leave.
  • It is also recommended to manage the rights of workers to create flexible working hours for them and even provide them with information statement regarding their rights and other relevant entitlements while commencing the employment.
  • It is recommended to increase the participation of female workers within the workforce through structural changes and with the involvement of Unions.
  • Providing rewards, monetary and non-monetary as well as training and developmental sessions could often be useful to resolve the issue related to lower wages paid and ensure that they should be kept satisfied
  • Collective bargaining should be promoted while the mapping of behaviors of staffs and workplace conditions should be monitored
  • The providing of flexibility, Career path, promotional scopes and participation in decision making process along with job enlargement is recommended as well for resolving the turnover of employees and ensure that conflicts do not arise

7. Conclusion:

The assignment focused on the most important aspects of human resource management considering the negative effects caused due to the low wages and inflexible working conditions. Due to this, the workers demanded a pay of 5 percent increase in wages on an annual basis and when the Government and Railway networks did not do so, a strike was done by the employees in January. There were various approaches such as collective bargaining, industrial; processes were managed based on the international theories of unitarism, pluralism, etc., to meet the demands of workers and to ensure resolving the dispute. Finally with the management of compromises and negotiations, the agreement between the two parties came to a conclusion, which ensured 3 percent increase in the wages and finally the strike was also called off.

The particular slice means the idea or perspective that has been generated after doing the research on this human resource management assignment. The first slice is based on pluralism, which states that are based on the laws, rules and regulations imposed by the Fair Work Commission, the industrial action had been terminated. Due to this, both the parties combined together, i.e., the unions and staffs to follow the pluralist approach and focus on the needs and preferences of the employees at first. On the other hand, it is important to consider the social responsibilities that shall be undertaken along with the compromises and negotiations to assist the management in fulfilling the needs of people working at NSW rail (Jimeno& Thomas, 2013). The conflicts that are caused have been considered as an outcome of the employment relationship management that can be resolved by collective fair bargaining.

The HRM position should be assessed and monitored to check whether the staffs are managed properly or not along with the management of a proper leadership style. The transformation leadership style could be beneficial as because it would consider the sharing and exchanging of ideas between the employees and at the same time, facilitate group thinking and improve the process of decision making as well. The pluralist idea perspective could also allow the management to increase the wages provided to the employees, furthermore make negotiations and resolve the conflict that might have emerged with the outcomes that have been mutually agreed upon by both the parties (Veblen, 2017).

While the plurailism approach to employment relation management is considered as effective, still it has been believed that the unitarism approach could enable the interests of employees to gain more capital through increase in wages contrary to the NSW Government and Sydney train networks. While the advances in NES promotes the rights of workers to ask for flexible working conditions along with minimum notice for redundancy and termination, it is to be noted that giving too much freedom to the employees could result in affecting the performance of the workforce negatively sometimes too (Kemmis, McTaggart& Nixon, 2013).

The international relations theory manages proper understanding of the international relationships based on the theories and concepts and create a framework for analysis and interpretation of the relations needed to keep the occurrences of disputes prevented. The realism theory enables management of discipline to make decisions according to idealistic thinking. The constructivism theory, on the other hand, argued the fact that the international relations reality has been socially constructed through cognitive structures. The theory has helped in managing debates for the scientific methods and techniques related to international relations, furthermore has played a major role in producing international power (Cullinane&Dundon, 2014). For the case study, the international relations could be managed by allowing the unions, Government, managers, employers and employees to make negotiations and finally come to a conclusion about making some changes to the wages structure and flexible working conditions to resolve the conflict as soon as possible (Greenwood& Van Buren, 2017).

The experiences are presented as critical reflection to the assignment and definitely, it has helped me a lot in understanding the various aspects of managing human resources. I have learnt about the various theories and concepts related tounitarism, pluralism and radicalism along with the ways international relations have been managed to resolve conflicts (Johnstone, 2014). The strike was done by the staffs with proper support by the Unions regarding increase in wages annually by 2.5 percent. The outcomes finally showed that with proper negotiations and compromises, there have been agreements and it finally resulted in 3 percent hike rather than the 6 percent hike that was proposed by the staffs, according to the Fair Pay Act and various organizational standards.


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Aswathappa, K. E. M. A. L. (2013). Human resource management: Text and cases. Tata McGraw-Hill Education.

Bolton, S. (2015). Tram and rail industrial action steps up. Green Left Weekly, (1067), 4.

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Dunne, T., Kurki, M., & Smith, S. (Eds.). (2013). International relations theories.Oxford University Press.

Greenwood, M., & Van Buren, H. J. (2017). Ideology in HRM scholarship: Interrogating the ideological performativity of ‘New Unitarism’. Journal of Business Ethics, 142(4), 663-678.

Jackson, R., &Sørensen, G. (2016).Introduction to international relations: theories and approaches. Oxford university press.

Jimeno, J. F., & Thomas, C. (2013).Collective bargaining, firm heterogeneity and unemployment.European Economic Review, 59, 63-79.

Johnstone, S. (2014).Workplace partnership.Handbook of research on employee voice. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing. Google Scholar.

Kemmis, S., McTaggart, R., & Nixon, R. (2013). The action research planner: Doing critical participatory action research. Springer Science & Business Media.

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Miley, V. (2015). System does not care about workers. Green Left Weekly, (1069), 2.

Pha, A. (2018). Strength in unity.Guardian (Sydney), (1808), 1.

Purce, J. (2014). The impact of corporate strategy on human resource management.New Perspectives on Human Resource Management (Routledge Revivals), 67.

Reiche, B. S., Harzing, A. W., &Tenzer, H. (Eds.).(2018). International human resource management. SAGE Publications Limited.

Richardson, J. (2013). Collective Bargaining.In An Introduction to the Study of Industrial Relations (pp. 231-258).Routledge.

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Veblen, T. (2017).The instinct of workmanship and the state of the industrial arts.Routledge.

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