Industrial Relations Strategy

WRC has an over-riding corporate objective to create a performance oriented culture with a positive work place environment, in which high standards of service and capacity can be built to respond to change and marketing opportunities. A corporative industrial relations (IR) climate has been strongly and consistently associated with improved employee relations outcomes and better economic performance (Gordon & Ladd, 1990, p. 62).

The work place climate has been positive in nature for WRC despite having three trade unions on site. However the question arises whether the industrial relations climate would continue to remain so, especially given the militant reputation of two trade unions. The introduction of certified agreements by The Workplace Relations Act 1996 gives WRC opportunity to take a more unitaristic approach towards its industrial relations (IR).

Although this is the case, due to the long-term existence of unions in the workplace a sudden de-unionisation approach can destabilise the IR climate. Recent research shows that workplace innovations are more successful, and the benefits are more enduring if unions are actively involved in their design and implementation (Eaton & Voos, 1992, pp. 180-193).

Organisations can secure performance improvements through co-operation with unions on aspects such as more training, employee involvement techniques, and maintaining terms and conditions rather than necessarily enacting a fundamental change in the role of unions (Bacon & Blyton, 1999, p. 650). This implies that union commitment is not an expression of negative attitudes towards the organisation (Snape et al, 2000, p. 214). Established positive attitudes about union-management relationship in employees will ultimately result in dual loyalty and commitment (Snape et al, 2000, p. 206).

Implementation of employee involvement techniques, increased training and greater responsibilities for quality among workers, distributive justice, promotional opportunities, job security and job satisfaction would help WRC create a more cooperative industrial relations climate where union-management relationship can remain positive (Bacon and Blyton, 1999, p. 639). The success of the IR strategy largely depends on the employee base it self, therefore strong workplace consultation systems should be maintained within WRC while sustaining union involvement in co-operative workplaces (Geary, 1995, p.

376). Conclusion In conclusion, the HR practices can be improved by implementation of the above-mentioned HR strategies, which include job analysis, maintenance of employee databases, and proper job description for systematic recruitment and selection. Secondly, fixed over award wages, individual or collective performance based pay, and performance evaluation criteria are recommended as a rewards and compensation strategy. Thirdly, study and training programs as well as accumulation of trainee baseline should be adopted as a training and development strategy.

Finally, management can established and maintain a positive IR climate by trade unions participation in workplace activities via employee involvement techniques, distributive justice, promotional opportunities, job security and job satisfaction.

References

Bacon, N. and Blyton, P. (1999), “Co-operation and conflict in industrial relations: what are the implications for employees and trade unions? “, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol. 10, pp.638-654. David, Z. (2001), “Training: A Function, Profession, Calling, What? “, Training & Development Journal, Vol. 55, No. 4. p. 36. Eaton, A. E. & Voos, P. B. (1992), Unions and Economic competitiveness, M. E Sharp, New York. Geary, J. (1995), “Work Practices: The Structure of Work”, Industrial Relations, Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 368-96. Gordon, M. E. & Ladd R. T. (1990), ‘Dual Allegiance: renewal, reconsideration and recantation’, Personal Psychology, Vol. 43, pp. 43-69.