Unit 4 Area of Study 1
 To
achieve an optimum working relationship
between employees and management
 To focus on using specific strategies to
retain, reward, and motivate effective and
skilled employees
 To create optimum worker and organisational
productivity, which leads to increased
business competitiveness
 Effective
management of ER:
► Leads to a harmonious work environment
► Allows for maximum workplace productivity
► Increases business competitiveness
► Decreases levels of conflict
► Promotes the concept of an organisational
team
► To make sure employees are readily
adaptable to change
Employee
Relations
Participants
1. Employees
and Trade
Unions
2. Employers
and employer
unions
3.
Government
4. Fair Work
Australia
 Employees
work under a collective
agreement, award or individual contract
 Employees look to improve wages and
conditions and flexibility in work practices
 Trade
Unions are an organisation formed to
represent and protect the rights of workers
in a particular industry
 Unions provide a number of services to
members in order to protect their rights
 Employers
try to negotiate workplace
agreements at workplace
 Employer
associations represent and assist
employer groups and promote their common
interest in employee relations
 Dual
role – largest employer in Australia
 As the government enacts legislation that
directly controls and influences the conduct
of employee relations in areas such as






Employee contracts
Taxation
Occupational Health and Safety
Equal opportunity
Pay and working conditions
Responsible for economic management which impacts
on economic activity
Provides information, advice and assistance on
workplace issues
 Fair Work Australia: power to vary awards,
make minimum wage orders, approve collective
agreements, determine unfair dismissal claims
 Fair Work Ombudsman: promotes legislative
compliance, educates, informs and provides
assistance, appoints Fair Work Inspectors
 Fair Work Inspectors: assist employees and
employers to comply with National Employment
Standards (NES), awards and collective
agreements

 Where
awards (pay and working conditions)
were determined by a central body (AIRC)
relating to an industry
 Conflict resolution used conciliation and
arbitration
 Awards were negotiated directly between
employers and the AIRC and the unions
representing workers
 Considered to be centralised due to its reliance
on one central body (the AIRC)
 AIRC established industrial awards – minimum
conditions of employment for employees doing
a particular job
Advantages
Disadvantages
Certainty of pay & working
conditions in same industry
Reduces potential for
employer/employee flexibility
Tighter government control
through centralised wage
determination body
Doesn’t recognise individual
organisation’s circumstances
More opportunity for industrial
action
Wage outcome imposed, no
trade-off for increased
productivity
Potential for trade unions to
have greater control
Unions have opportunity to
mount harmful campaigns
Employers – saves time & effort
and refer to gov’t determined
document to find out pay &
working conditions
Lessens the importance of
participative management
approach as wages aren’t
negotiated at workplace
Where employers and employees at each
workplace determine their pay and working
conditions and work through their differences
without outside interference
 Workplace Relations Act 1996:
Collective/certified agreement – enterprise
bargaining agreements which result from
negotiations between an employer and union
 Fair Work Act 2008: main aims to strengthen the
safety net of minimum wages and conditions,
abolishing AWAs and restoring collective
bargaining as the main means of creating an
agreement and restoring to all employees
protection against unfair dismissal.

Advantages
Disadvantages
Allows employers/employees to
negotiate pay and working
conditions relevant to the
individual workplace
Reduces level of government
control in wage determination
Employers have opportunity to
negotiate productivity gains,
employees negotiate increased
flexibility in working
arrangements
More time-consuming for
employers as they now need to
undertake negotiations.
May feel some of employees’
demands are unrealistic.
Creates more inclusive working
environment as both parties are
working together to achieve
agreement
Some workers may feel more
vulnerable as influence of unions
as representatives of workers is
often reduced.
 Passive
resistance
 Work to rule
 Boycott
 Stop work meeting
 Picket line
 Strike
 Lockout
 Protected
industrial action - action that
occurs during a protected period when a new
collective agreement is being negotiated
 Unprotected industrial action - industrial
action taken outside the negotiating and
bargaining process
 Fair Work Australia has the power to suspend
or terminate protected industrial action. Fair
Work Australia may also make orders to stop
or prevent unprotected industrial action.
Such orders are enforceable in the courts
 Role
of the HRM greatly increased under
decentralised approach. Must:


Negotiate with employees and/or their representatives
on employment relations issues such as the
establishment of collective agreements
Act as an intermediary between employees/unions and
senior management
 Should
aim to facilitate positive, productive
relationships with its employees
 Should attend to employee complaints in
such a way as they do not escalate





Commitment by management and employees
to achieve organisational objectives (ie
common purpose and teamwork)
Adopting participative and open management
style
Treating employees and their complaints
seriously
Promotion and acceptance that workplace
change is inevitable and essential for
business competitiveness
Effective communication skills and methods
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Providing fair pay & working conditions
Recognition of employee achievements
Maintenance of good working relationships
between management and unions
Establishment of fair and accessible
grievance procedures for any possible
disputes
Performance Indicators (workplace audit)
 Level of employee participation in decision
making (high)
 Degree of consultation in workplace indicates
level of worker empowerment
 Communication channels (open)
 Values – shared and positive
 Productivity levels – demonstrate motivation and
satisfaction. Links to profitability
 Staff morale levels (high)
 Incidence of industrial action
 Rate of union membership
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