Management Discipline

I was requested to submit a report comparing and evaluating Crusty Bakeries Discipline, Grievance and Redundancy procedures against that of Industry Standards by Ms G. More, an experienced consultant. The purpose of this report is to advise our client Crusty Bakeries on how they should deal with the problems above. 2. 0 Procedures To carry out this report I needed to research: 2. 1 Discipline, Grievances & Redundancy. 2. 2 Investigate several trade unions – Labour Relations Agency, GMB, ATGWU. 2. 3 Investigate similar organisations – Mothers Pride Bakery.

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2. 4 Compare Information against other sources – Internet. (2. 1) 3. 0 Findings 3. 1: When studying Crusty Bakeries case study, I noticed that the staff seemed to be unsure about the company’s Discipline and Grievance procedure. Statements from staff such as: ‘They had had to be reminded through a note in their wage slip’ ‘Were unsure if suspension without pay could be used by management’ ‘The memorandum issued did not refer to any appeals procedures’ ‘No-one remembered when the last disciplinary process was invoked’

Tells me that management did not inform staff on the proper procedures. However, it does state that ‘The Personnel Manager briefed Supervisors of the company’s discipline and grievance procedure last year, stating that supervisors could issue verbal warnings. This is to be found valid, according to GMB and the supervisor should also point out the employees shortcomings and set a review period. A written record should also be made which can be used as evidence if further action becomes necessary.

This will be retained on file for a period of 3 months from the date of the warning and if an improvement has been made by that employee over a period of time, it should be acknowledged and recorded. The memorandum issued to all staff did not refer to any appeals procedures, which meant that the employees did not know what to do if they were, faced with disciplinary action. However, the Labour Relations Agency states that this is to be known to all concerned and any employee dissatisfied with any disciplinary action against them may lodge an appeal within 3 working days in writing.

Crusty Bakeries implemented the correct disciplinary procedure regarding the female operator for failing to wear a hair net during production, as this is considered as a major offence (Health ; Safety) which, resulted in a written warning. According to GMB, a written warning, will be issued, along with reasons. This warning will also have a review period. The employee is requested, to sign a copy of this warning, indicating that they received it, which will then be placed on file for a period of 4 months from the date of the warning. 3. 2: The employees at Crusty Bakeries have very little knowledge about the

company’s grievance procedures as well as the disciplinary. After studying the staffing table, I noticed that the average length of service for machine operators is only 1 year, with only 4 employees working on a part-time basis. It seems to me that there could be an underlying problem regarding either pay or working conditions, which might have cause for a grievance. From the Crusty Bakeries case study, it is obvious that the bakers have found it difficult to come to terms with the new proposals, which gives them cause to have a grievance.

Under the circumstances, Crusty Bakeries should have taken into consideration the employees reaction towards the introduction of new technology and possible redundancies. According to the Labour Relations Agency, ‘A written statement must specify the person, to whom, an employee can apply to seek redress should a grievance arise relating to their employment and must describe the manner, in which such a grievance can be raised. Grievances may arise over pay, terms of employment or working conditions and the employee should always be given the opportunity to have a full and fair hearing’.

The way in which an employee can pursue a grievance, should be made known to all employees. This should be done by drawing up and issuing a grievance procedure to all employees and be agreed with a trade union. Any grievances should be discussed between the employee and the supervisor. Any further stages which exist for dealing with unresolved issues, the employee has the right to be accompanied by a trade union official. Under normal working conditions, this procedure should take no longer than 1 day. Labour Relations Agency GMB 4. 0 Conclusions

Crusty Bakeries have not communicated clearly on their procedures of discipline and grievances towards their employees, especially at their present situation. I believe, that employees were not informed of these procedures when they commenced employment with Crusty Bakeries, as their case study proves this, by telling us that, ‘the employees were only informed on these matters now and again, or whenever the situation arose’. Throughout my report, all the findings are accurate and related to Crusty Bakeries with general guidelines from the Labour Relations Agency, GMB and ATGWU.

5. 0: Recommendations Employees need to know their rights and fully understand the organisations policy on discipline to current employees. I would recommend that Crusty Bakeries issue an employee handbook, which outlines this, preferably within 2 months of commencing employment. A sample copy of what the handbook should contain is enclosed. Supervisors should arrange personal action plans with employees to monitor their work and maybe give the employee the opportunity to voice any opinions. I think this would make a vast improvement in working conditions.

With the up-coming changes, I would strongly urge Crusty Bakeries to plan meetings with their employees to discuss the situation and offer assistance for any grievances that might arise from it. (2. 2) 3. 0 Findings Since the introduction of new technology within Crusty Bakeries, it seemed to cause some distress to the bakers. This is because their traditional baking skills are being replaced with automated processing, causing their jobs to be at risk. If we look at the staffing table of Crusty Bakeries case study, we can see that the most affected are the bakers and clerical staff, with a total of 20 job losses.

The bakers have taken it upon themselves to deal with the situation, although they went about it the wrong way, but I still feel that we should keep this in mind. 3. 1 Absence & Punctuality For the 14 bakers, absence and punctuality has seemed to increase. This type of behaviour results in a verbal warning from the supervisor which will be recorded and kept on file for 3 months and can be used as evidence if further action becomes necessary. GMB 3. 2 Extended Break The next step by the bakers, was to extend their lunch break by half an hour, taken at a local public house.

Crusty Bakeries would need to establish whether or not alcohol was consumed by the bakers, whilst on their lunch break. If the bakers did consume alcohol, this would be considered as gross misconduct, which could lead to summary dismissal. As we do not have the facts, their bad time keeping by half an hour and also being a repetition of a similar offence, would result in being given a written warning, which is kept on file for 4 months. GMB 3. 3 Poor Quality The bakers continued by not adhering to the baking mix ratios, which is extremely important for Crusty Bakeries.

This type of behaviour falls under serious misconduct (persistent lack of interest, work effort or poor quality). At this stage, the bakers are facing dismissal. They can, be suspended with pay while the matter is being investigated. GMB 3. 4 Safety Regulations Finally, regulation white coats and hats were not being worn the week by the bakers and because they ignored safety rules, it is considered as a major offence, which from all the other offences gathered, would lead to an indefinite dismissal.

GMB In all cases, Crusty Bakeries need to give the bakers the opportunity to have a personal hearing and to establish the facts promptly. Where disciplinary action is taken, it should be explained clearly to the employee and written records of action taken, should be kept. It should be emphasised that unless there is a specific reference to suspension without pay in the contract of employment, employers should avoid the use of this particular action either as ‘cooling off’ period or as a penalty.

No employee should be dismissed for a first breach of discipline. Labour Relations Agency 4. 0 Conclusions If this case were straightforward, the bakers would have been dismissed on the 3. 3 stage, due to the seriousness of the offence and the repetition of minor offences. As this is not a straightforward case, due to elements resulting in their behaviour, it should be noted that the bakers had a good record before they found out about the proposed plans.

We have to take into consideration that if the 14 bakers were informed properly of the proposed plans by management, they may have acted differently. 5. 0 Recommendations I would not dismiss the 14 bakers immediately. Instead, I would encourage management, 14 bakers and their trade union, to call a meeting so that they can discuss recent events and maybe reach a sensible solution. Management is partly to blame and should accept this, by not dismissing the bakers.