5HR01 Task Two – Advisory Briefing Note
This task requires you to produce an advisory briefing note to senior managers facing industrial unrest
in the organisation.
The advisory note should contain:
i Distinguish between organisational conflict and misbehaviour, and between informal and
formal conflict. (AC 2.1)
5HR01 AC 2.1 Answer
Organizational conflict refers to situations in which the interests, values, or goals of different individuals or groups within an organization are incompatible or in conflict with one another (Robbins and Judge, 2017). This can occur at various levels within the organization, including between employees, between departments, or between management and employees (Robbins and Judge, 2017). Misbehaviour, on the other hand, refers to actions or behaviours that are inappropriate or violate the rules or policies of the organization (Robbins and Judge, 2017). This can include things such as harassment, discrimination, theft, or violation of safety procedures (Robbins and Judge, 2017). Misbehaviour is generally seen as a negative occurrence within the organization, as it can have negative impacts on the work environment and the overall functioning of the organization (Robbins and Judge, 2017).
Conflict may be formal or informal. Formal conflict refers to conflicts that are resolved through established, formal processes or procedures within the organization (Robbins and Judge, 2017). This might include grievances, arbitration, or mediation (Robbins and Judge, 2017). Formal conflict resolution processes are typically more structured and formalized, and may involve the involvement of external parties such as mediators or arbitrators (Robbins and Judge, 2017).
Informal conflict, on the other hand, refers to conflicts that are resolved informally, without the use of formal processes or procedures (Robbins and Judge, 2017). This might include informal discussions or negotiations between individuals or groups involved in the conflict (Robbins and Judge, 2017). Informal conflict resolution is generally less structured and formalized, and may involve the involvement of a third party such as a supervisor or HR representative to facilitate resolution (Robbins and Judge, 2017).
ii Distinguish between official and unofficial employee action. (AC 2.2)
5HR01 AC 2.2 Answer
The distinction between official and unofficial employee action is important for overall corporate success. Official employee action refers to actions taken by employees that are within the scope of their job duties and responsibilities, and that are in accordance with the policies and procedures of the organization (Smith, 2018). These actions are often formally documented and recorded, and may require approval or oversight from a supervisor or other higher-level employee (Williams, 2021). Examples of official employee actions include submitting a report or presentation to a supervisor or manager and attending a meeting or training session. Official action happens to be considered as an event where any compensated role or occupation is intentionally put to a halt by a group of workers. An example of this action is a strike that has been authorized by a union of trade. However, according to ACAS best practice, to make it official, a legal; vote must be casted. All members of the union are engaged in casting of the vote. Only the moment the vote portrays a majority of individuals have agreed that the strike should continue, the action should take place. A key feature of this action is that the moment the members of the union reach to a decision, organisations should be offered not less than a fort night warning (Gollan and Wilkinson 2008). Unofficial action is any type of industrial action that is not endorsed or authorized by a trade union. For example, a strike that has not been authorized by a trade union represents an unofficial action and a key feature is that any member of the union who takes part in such an event can be dismissed by the company. One of the differences of official and unofficial action is in their definition. Another difference is that members of a union cannot be dismissed due to an official action but can be dismissed by the organisation after engaging in an unofficial action.
iii Assess emerging trends in the types of conflict and industrial sanctions. (AC.2.3)
5HR01 AC.2.3 Answer
There have been various emerging trends in industrial sanctions and sanctions in the past couple of years. One trend is an increase in non-unionized worker strikes (Furnham, 2020). These strikes often involve workers demanding better pay and working conditions, and can be seen as a response to the lack of representation and bargaining power for non-unionized workers (Phillips and Stone, 2019). Another trend is the use of social media and other digital platforms to organize and mobilize workers for strikes and other forms of industrial action (Gao et al., 2021). The use of these platforms allows workers to quickly and easily communicate with each other and coordinate action, and can also be used to raise awareness and support for their cause (Lee and Johnson, 2020).
For example, strikes have transformed to be shorter and more strategically planned. This is because trade unions have established more friendly relationships with employers and organisations seem to be responding to the strikes within a short period of time. Sometimes, employers have established measures that ensure the strikes, either authorized by trade unions or not authorized, have not occurred. Therefore, it means that a key feature of this trend is strategic planning of the strikes that ensures that the demands of employees are met and businesses are not much affected (Gollan and Wilkinson 2008). For example, trade unions meet with employers before the strikes to try and negotiate. A common strength for the trend is that it ensures that employees are listened to quickly while one of its weaknesses is that the employers might overlook the demands of the workers when they end the strike so quickly.
Another example of an emerging trend in conflicts and industrial sanctions is the impact of social media. Some of the features of this trend is that social media has made it easier for organisations and employees to deal with organisational conflicts and also helped employees and trade unions organize industrial sanctions as they seek improvement of their satisfaction and wellbeing at the place of work (Gao et al. 2021). For example, trade unions have created social media groups where they can convey their plans. One of the strengths of this trend is that social media has ensured that people communicate their plans without holding physical meetings to raise concerns regarding certain issues at the lace of work. A common weakness of the trend is that social media may result to sharing of negative messages and information or incitement among employees without the managers noticing and this could lead to an unofficial action occurring.
iv Distinguish between third-party conciliation, mediation and arbitration. (AC.2.4)
5HR01 AC.2.4 Answer
A neutral third-party mediates a resolution to the dispute between the disputants. Third parties are not accountable for resolving the conflict. The neutral third party establishes the parameters within which the dispute will be resolved (ACAS 2022). They thus keep the disputants on track. The arbitrators also offer advice to ensure the parties employ effective forms of mediation (ACAS 2022).
Filing a claim with the Employment Tribunal, employees are required to go through this procedure. Employees and employers must always give permission for the process to proceed (ACAS 2022). The Fair Work Commission frequently uses conciliation in its proceedings. According to ACAS (2022), this strategy is implemented after all other means of resolving the dispute have been tried.
While conciliation attempts to satisfy the interests of both parties, arbitration prioritises the parties’ legal rights over their preferences. A neutral third party hears out both sides of the dispute and evaluates the evidence presented. An arbitrator hears both sides and weighs the evidence before making a final, binding ruling.
v Explain the main provisions of collective employment law. (AC 4.1)
5HR01 AC 4.1 Answer
Collective employment law in the UK gives employees the right to form and join trade unions. This right is protected by the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, which applies to most employers in the UK. Under this Act, employees have the right to engage in “collective activities,” which includes the right to form and join trade unions, the right to bargain collectively with their employer, and the right to take industrial action, such as strikes. Another important provision of collective employment law in the UK is the duty of fair representation. This duty requires trade unions to represent the interests of all members of the bargaining unit fairly and without discrimination. This means that unions must not favour certain members over others, and must not discriminate against members on the basis of protected characteristics, such as race, gender, age, or disability.
In the UK, the statutory recognition procedure for trade unions is governed by the Trade Union Recognition Act 1993. Under this Act, a trade union can apply for recognition as the exclusive representative of a group of employees for the purpose of collective bargaining. In order to be recognized, the union must demonstrate that it has the support of a sufficient number of employees in the bargaining unit. This can be done through a vote or through other means, such as a petition or a show of hands. If the union is recognized as the exclusive representative, it is required to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with the employer on behalf of all the employees in the bargaining unit.
vi Compare the types of employee bodies, union and non-union forms of employeerepresentation (AC 4.2)
5HR01 AC 4.2 Answer
There are several types of employee bodies that can represent employees’ interests including trade unions, employee councils, and works councils. Trade unions are perhaps the most well-known form of employee representation. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), trade unions are “associations of workers or organizations, usually independent of the employer, formed to protect and advance the interests of their members through collective action” (ILO, n.d.). Trade unions have the legal right to engage in collective bargaining on behalf of their members, and they often negotiate with management over issues such as wages, benefits, and working conditions. However, trade unions typically require workers to pay dues in order to become members, and they may only represent the interests of workers in a specific industry or sector (Gollan and Wilkinson, 2008). Employee councils are another form of employee representation that is elected by the workers in a company or organization (Gollan and Wilkinson, 2008). These bodies often have the power to negotiate with management over issues such as working hours, leave policies, and other working conditions. Employee councils are usually open to all employees, and they may be established at the company, department, or team level. Works councils are similar to employee councils, but they are established in some countries to facilitate communication and cooperation between management and workers (Gollan and Wilkinson, 2008). Works councils often have the power to participate in decision-making processes and to negotiate with management over issues such as working conditions, training, and other matters.
Compared to union forms of employee representation, non-union bodies such as employee councils and works councils, are usually formed and supported by the employer (Gollan and Wilkinson, 2008). They may not have the same bargaining power as trade unions, and they may not have the ability to influence decision-making at the company level (Gollan and Wilkinson, 2008).
vii Evaluate the purpose of collective bargaining and how it works. (AC 4.3)
5HR01 AC 4.3 Answer
Unison.org.uk (2022) defines collective bargaining as the process of negotiation between employee representative and their employers during a special meeting, often regarding pay and conditions. The process allows employees to approach employers as a single unified group. The key objective of a collective bargaining process is to agree with employees and their employers (Morris 2022). Normally, employees can contribute to a collective bargaining process by engaging their representatives while the process is underway. According to Unison.org.uk (2022), workplace bargaining provides an ample opportunity to build a stronger local union. Moreover, claims and agreements are a great way of recruiting new members and getting many employees involved in the union. Below is a list of steps taken during the bargaining process.
Preparation: During this step, both organisations prepare for the meeting by collecting relevant evidence and opinions.
The opening: During this step, one side of the table (employer or representative) presents a proposal while others respond. In most instances, the meeting may be adjourned to go and collect further information regarding the tabled issues. It also entails identifying the bottom line of the issues.
Trading: During this step, both sides trade information to move from the opening position into an agreement. The step may also entail numerous adjournments to explore more options and consult with others (Unison.org.uk 2022).
Agreements: During this step, a final proposal is put to the members and usually ends with both parties reaching an agreement. The process also entails documenting the agreement for future reference (Morris 2022).