Conflict in Employee Relations

Conflict in Employee Relations

Conflict refers to disputes, disagreements or dissatisfaction between individuals and/or groups.

Industrial Disputes refer to a withdrawal from work by a group of employees or refusal by an employer or number of employers to permit some or all of their members to work.

Types of Industrial Actions

Examples of Industrial Actions include:

  • A Strike occurs when employees withdraw their labour for a period of time in pursuit of improvements in their employment conditions.
  • A Lockout occurs when employers close the workplace for a period of time as a means of applying pressure to employees during a period of industrial conflict.
  • Picket Lines are protests that take place outside the workplace, generally associated with a strike.
  • Work Bans refer to a refusal to work overtime, handle a product, piece of equipment, process, or a refusal to work with particular individuals.
  • Work-to-rule is when employees refuse to perform any duties that are additional to the work they normally are required to perform.
  • Absenteeism, vandalism and sabotage are concealed unofficial expressions of conflict may be even more costly to organisations that open official industrial disputes.

Protected and Unprotected Actions

Protected Industrial Action refers to action taken by either party to a dispute that has been approved by Fair Work Australia.

Unprotected Industrial Action refers to action that has not been approved by Fair Work Australia.

Resolution of Conflict

Dispute Resolution At Fair Work Australia

Fair Work Australia is national independent workplace relations tribunal or institution that can vary awards, approve agreements, determine unfair dismissal claims, make minimum wage orders and assist in workplace resolution.

Fair Work Ombudsman is the government body that assists employees, employers and organisations to comply with new workplace relation laws and where necessary enforce law through the court system.

Conflict Resolution Processes

  • Negotiation is a method of resolving disputes whereby discussions between the parties result in a compromise and a formal or informal agreement about the dispute. It is the least formal dispute resolution, which utilizes consultative and participative management style
  • Mediation uses an impartial third party assists the parties in disputes to work toward their own agreement, but will not usually offer suggestions or solutions, preferring parties to reach an agreement on their own terms. The third party used can be independent, mutually agreed upon by the parties or a representative from a business, tribunal or government agency.
  • Grievance Procedures provide an orderly system whereby the employee and employer can resolve matters relating to complaints about wages, hours, working conditions or disciplinary actions.
  • Common Law Action refers to legal action before the courts. This is open to any party involvement in or affected by industrial action. Legal action arising from employee relations issues is usually heard in the Fair Work Division of the Federal Court. Legal action is considered as a “last resort” when all other avenues have been exhausted.