Relationship between city management and unions

relationship between city management and unions

These changes impact on the relationship between unions, the employer and politicians. It is not appropriate to place the labour relations manager (unit) in the. No one said forging a productive, cooperative relationship with Those managers and union leaders offer tips for creating a win-win Both Mueller and Grewe agree that building multiple connections between managers and union reps . SRI, Soul of the City, Strengths Spotlight, Strengths-Based Selling. In today's business environment, the relationship between management and union can My research of the roles of unions and management will enable me to . staffing and overtime problems in the city's Telecommunications Center.

As organizers, management organizes resources needed to achieve the goals in an optimum fashion. Examples are organizing new departments, human resources, office and file systems, re-organizing businesses, etc. This includes ongoing collection of feedback, and monitoring and adjustment of systems, processes and structures accordingly. The Role of Unions in an Organization Unions are associations that represent the collective interests of their employee-members in bargaining and negotiating with organizations.

Trade unions generally seek to obtain higher wages, reduced working hours, and improved working conditions for employees. The also seek to improve workplace safety and obtain increased benefits, such as health insurance, pensions, and disability insurance, for employees. Although trade unions did not obtain legal recognition until the s, laborers began organizing to bargain collectively with employers long before obtaining such recognition Encyclopedia. Unions also help the organization by supporting the productivity of the workers.

Also, they hold forums to sensitize workers on changes going on in the market as well as educate them on pertinent matters that would benefit them in general.

Further support, which may differ, may be given at personal levels. A member might get legal representation in case of litigation where an employer is involved. Unions when conflict arises between employees and employers conduct meetings and hold talks with relevant policy and decision makers. This ensures quality talks from both sides and decisions of resolve that benefit the employer as well as employee.

There are some who believe that labor-management relations are a relic of an era when rising standards of living and stable markets seemed to be predictable. A union-management relation is not about playing out a Noh dance of ritualized motions or technical legalisms—it is an intensely human connection that affects the lives of managers and unionists alike. Each contract term was seen as progress to a better way of life. Unions and management who still believe in this idea are losing benefits accumulated over time.

The predictable foundations of those benefits and collective bargaining seem to not work in this day and time. Collective bargaining has produced innovations and progress within organizations.

New benefit packages, new types of working hours, new investment funds, new learning arrangements, and family friendly policies, etc. Both sides will have their own assumptions, values, and way of doing business. If the differences are not properly managed, they could get in the way of the partnership. However, the union may be wary of implementing the proposal before it has been thoroughly discussed at the union meeting s and the membership supports the concept.

There should be no venture into a work area that does not accept the partnership philosophy or whose agenda is different from those set by the labor-management partnership.

What Is HR's Role in Maintaining Effective Working Relationships With Unions? |

This partnership can run into problems if demands exceed resources. A level of trust must be gained within the partnership. If trust issues are addressed, effective, honest communication will develop alleviating fears of retaliation for speaking out.

This strained relationship relates into little or no trust between the parties. It is further proposed that the labour relationship should be nurtured by mutual interest, reciprocity of support, understanding, trust, facilitated 12 communication, shared goals and shared values and the absence of these qualities hampers the relationship.

Both parties are very aware of the impact of unsuccessful engagement, not just on the labour relationship itself, but on other stakeholders and the negative effect on their legitimate rights. An example of unsuccessful engagement was highlighted where it was found that organized labour had been instrumental in creating a municipality Phumelela Local Municipality devoid of normal organisational practices, resulting in poor service delivery. There are numerous factors leading to unsuccessful engagement as can be seen from aforementioned discussions.

Labour relations are about human interaction and the mutual involvement in the work environment creates specific relationships with one another. It is proposed that like all other relationships, the labour relationship should be nurtured by mutual interest, reciprocity of support, understanding, and trust, facilitates communication, shared goals and shared values and the absence of these qualities will hamper the relationship.

Bendix concedes that the relationship itself and the way in which it is conducted are immensely important to the individual and to society; still both parties tend to approach the relationship and each other with a certain amount of negativity and indifference.

At the same time, it is also a relationship where perceptions of collectivity play an important role. The power dynamic in the process of collective bargaining influences the interaction.

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The complexity of the industrial relations system is due to the numerous dynamic and interacting forces. Ideology forms the basis from which an individual or groups adopt a certain approach to the labour relationship. The labour relation system established in a particular environment will depend on the dominant socio-political and economic ideology. However, as the ideology of a society changes, the industrial relations system will experience similar change.

The balancing of power occurring in political systems is reflected in the industrial relations system 13 Socio-political forces impacts on the industrial relations system and government generally adopts a particular public policy in light of its ideology which in turn has an influence on the labour relations system. Economic forces are numerous and variable and play a role in determining the type of overall system established, for example an increase in unemployment, may see an increase in solidarity among the working class.

Alternatively shared economic adversity could see greater cooperation between the State, employers and employees as well as a de-emphasis on collective bargaining in favour of more participative structures.

The history and nature of trade union development, their goals, method of organisation and place within society impacts on the industrial relations systems and the relationship between trade unions and employers. Given the history of labour relations in SA, post sees remnants from the historical past exert an influence on labour relations and the behaviour of people.

Although less obvious, the way in which employer organisations organize themselves have a significant effect on the industrial relations systems. Engagement between employer representatives and labour representatives takes place in a dynamic environment. The way in which unions and employers behave towards each other, their status and roles with the relationship is often viewed by tradition and custom. Custom and traditional roles within societal structures are strong, and any attempt to introduce change within these hierarchies is strongly resisted.

In light of ever-changing realities, custom and tradition are not always rational or correct and too much reliance on custom as a regulator of the labour relationship results in stagnation and in engagement that is out of touch with reality. Hence Bendix remarks that it is necessary to establish a legal framework within which the labour relationship can be conducted to improve equality amongst the parties and minimise destructive practices.

Thus unsuccessful engagement on the part of the employer results in lockouts as a tool to force the unions to accept its demands whilst unions will withdraw their labour until such time that their demands are met. Unsuccessful engagement places strain on personal and 14 management relationships when unions attack managers for fulfilling their professional roles, being consistent with their mandates, applicable collective agreements and labour legislation.

Power relations leads to constant threats such as if the employer does not give in to union demands the unions will threaten to go on strike. Due to the inherent nature of conflict between management and labour, the results are as aforementioned. The Executive Mayor concedes that consequences of unsuccessful engagement results in deteriorating relations and deadlocks. This puts extra strain on a very unstable relationship as it is and exacerbates the existing conflict between the parties.

The factors that lead to unsuccessful engagement is that parties do not necessarily understand labour relations in the same way, are not equally committed to harmonious engagement as well as other relationship issues which include personal agendas.

Conflict has always been inherent in the labour relationship and pre-existing conflict decreases the chances of reaching consensus and agreement on certain issues It also goes without saying that stakeholders are affected negatively when engagement is not constructive and this can be seen in the lack of services to our communities, the loss in wages when illegal strikes occur, amongst others.

IMATU feels that the consequences of unsuccessful engagement are stagnation and lack of progress on both sides. The relationship between the union and employer has a major negative impact on union members and results in lack of respect, frustration, non- finalisation of issues even after years of negotiations. The pre- existing conflict is a result of the historic perceived prejudices that come into play. The 15 impact of unsuccessful engagement in its worse form leads to industrial action and in turn impacts negatively on all, including the general public [lack of services, etc].

The positive pole of the continuum encompasses a more common interest approach to ensure the continuity of the organisation through cooperation. This requires moving from coercive power stance to a more expert and referent power stance. Participation through joint problem solving is one of the features of the positive pole of the continuum. It appears that the parties still has an adversarial stance towards improving the engagement as they seem to be taking a very cautious and low trust approach towards improving relations.

CoJ is of the meaning that the current form of engagement is adequate and that the LLF will boost the engagement by the parties.

relationship between city management and unions

The unions do not necessarily agree on the success of this forum but concede that the parties should look for solutions not problems in an atmosphere of mature, informed, mandated, achievable, hard-nosed but willing to compromise engagement. CoJ appear to be satisfied with the current formal engagement and that the LRU should continue as usual but also take a more pro-active role in line departments to educate employees and management. IMATU feels that the LRU should form part of the employer negotiating team but only in part otherwise it skews the picture if not more politicians are involved for a balanced mandate.

They feel that if the employer adheres to the aforementioned the formal engagement would be enhanced. Perhaps due to the current deteriorating relations, changes in leadership in the respective delegations, unresolved longstanding issues, trust issues, personal attacks, and so forth, neither party appears ready for less formal engagements. However, there is no real problem for them informally unless it is aimed at breaking deadlocks or warning about potential pitfalls on stances or even builds or rebuilds bruised relationships.

For improved relationships to occur the stances, perspectives and behaviours of both parties need substantial, if not radical change and intervention. The formal engagement has already seen some improvement in resolving the issues that were preventing the establishment of the LLF and it is hoped that once in operation, it will provide a platform to engage and hopefully resolve many of the outstanding issues. This means that there are a number of formal bodies that should engage on a variety of issues.

Informal engagement is ideal but should be seen as a replacement or the undermining of the formal structures. Meeting informally is not a problem but the informal engagement should be aimed at breaking the deadlocks. According to the Executive Mayor, formal engagement structures are necessary to regulate the labour relationship within a legal framework; however, an element of informal engagement is needed in order to improve interpersonal relations. The role of the LRU should be to continue their facilitation role and stimulate the discussions around issues such as transformation, broader service deliver, and so forth.

The formal engagement can be improved through engaging on labour relations issues through cooperation as well respecting the mandates of the formal structures and institutions. Informally relations can be improved by building a more trusting relationship, mutual respect, being less confrontational, willingness to compromise to encourage more win-win outcomes for all concerned.

Management and Union Relationships in an Organization

IMATUs response to the form of engagement is that the atmosphere should be one of mature, informed, mandated, achievable, hard-nosed but willing to compromise with mutual respect willing to seek solutions not problems.

The union does not have a major problem with the LRU forming part of the employer negotiating team but not practically the whole negotiating team. This skews the picture as it may give preference to the administrative not the political agenda. Politicians should be involved to ensure a more balanced mandate. Adherence to the aforesaid in principle will improve the formal engagement. Informal engagement is an interesting concept which could receive more 17 attention as it mainly serves to warn parties about potential pitfalls on stances or to build re-build bruised relationships.

relationship between city management and unions

The lack of trust and coercive power play impacts negatively on the engagement experience. The customary and traditional roles of the parties also impacts on the not so amiable engagement between them. Whilst the Ekhuruleni Municipality resolved that management should not be shop stewards, CoJ consent to freedom of association in allowing managers to be shop stewards.

On the frequency of engagement, the LRA encourages employers and unions to participate in collective bargaining. The Act also introduced workplace forums as a means to reduce rivalry and promote joint problem-solving at workplace level.

The study on the impact of constructive engagement between the municipalities and the unions in Britain proves that constructive engagement yields positive results. The level of engagement is extended to all levels of the organisation and the form of engagement is more participatory. A militant approach by unions assumes a conflict of interest between employers and employees and an adversarial approach to bargaining.

On the other hand, unions inclined to a partnership approach, assume that workers and employers can find some common ground on which to develop relationships and find solutions. Recommendations The following recommendations are proposed: This may expose unions to more participatory engagement with the view that there will be an improved commitment by the unions and employers to the same objectives and values.

Conclusions It can be concluded that both sides are aware of the consequences and impact of unsuccessful engagement.

What Is HR's Role in Maintaining Effective Working Relationships With Unions?

The absence of qualities such mutual interest, reciprocity of support, understanding, trust, communication, shared goals and shared values in the labour relationship will have negative consequences.

The mere containment of conflict does not necessarily improve the relationship and more focus should be placed on the commonality of the relationship through cooperative and participatory processes. Previous existence of conflict, even if it were resolved, leads to a heightened conflict potential and any agreements reached or promises made must be put into action as soon as possible. Communication and procedures need to be improved and all precautions to avoid similar incidents recurring should be made.

A follow-up engagement session between employer and employee representatives may prove valuable.

relationship between city management and unions

Pre-existing conflict to be addressed through industrial psychology intervention in terms developing training programmes focusing on effective communication, negotiation skills, interactive interpersonal skills conflict handling skills, labour relations procedures, and strike handling skills, shop steward functions and responsibilities and leadership skills.

Recommendations In light of the responses by participants and the literature research the following recommendations are made: This should be performed by an independent body to obtain an objective assessment. Conclusions From both sides there appears to be a cautious approach to improving the engagement between them.

The parties should be open to improving the engagements as there are international and local examples that attest to more positive results emanating from a more interactive approach to the labour relationship. The case of the engagement process at the Nelspruit Municipality is a local example of case in point. Industrial psychology indeed has a legitimate, specific and valuable contribution to make to the science and practice of labour relations.

It is also felt that even as a key contributor to labour relations there is a tendency to underplay the importance of industrial psychology by specialist and unions whilst it is vital, given our unique labour and political make-up. The value of industrial psychology is viewed in light of the fact that good labour relations do not just happen but have to be worked at, built up and consolidated by all parties concerned. Some of the areas that industrial psychology could be of particular value is in providing a clearer picture of the relation between commitment and performance; union democracy and organizing; facilitation of relations between union and management; the legal framework of union-management relations amongst others.

It is also felt that psychological studies are valuable in facilitating and understanding bargaining dynamics, overcoming bargaining impasses, conflict resolution and collective bargaining outcomes.

Mentioned previously it is underlined that the mere containment of conflict does not necessarily improve the relationship and more focus should be placed on the commonality of the relationship through cooperative and participatory processes.

The dynamics of collective bargaining is demand and concession; its objective is agreement and assumes a willingness on each side not to only listen to and consider the representations of the other but also to abandon fixed positions where possible, in order to find common ground. It is the view of the researcher that the LRU should merely be facilitating harmonious labour relations and not be directly involved in negotiations. There must be a common and clear understanding of the role of this unit, which ultimately should serve both the employer and the union to enhance relations between the parties.

The LRU must have meaningful and strong input into the overall strategic plan and essentially act as the middleman and facilitate the relationship between the various parties and promoting effectively the interests of both employers and employees according to page A key role of the LRU is overseeing the facilitation and development of the work relationship and deals with both internal and external stakeholders. In terms of communication, it is clear that the existing conflicting that has manifested itself on both the interpersonal and organizational level and impacts on effective communication between the parties.

Strike action is the visible manifestation of conflict and is a traumatic experience on both sides. The frequent strikes experienced at CoJ, is indicative of deep rooted unresolved issues and inadequate communication. Differing attitudes, perceptions, organizational structure and basic conflict of interest and goals can give rise to a variety of problems.

This also affects the effectiveness of the communication between the sender and receiver. Distorted communication is a result of animosity and suspicion. Organisational communication is more often than not of a formal nature; however informal channels of communication can be invaluable. Collective bargaining may well be one of the most important forms of interactive communication.

Communication between management and labour is extremely important in the context of labour relations. Shaping realistic and legitimate expectations as well as making informed decisions, require regular information about organizational performance, successes, problems, environmental factors affecting the organisation and so forth to labour [and all other stakeholders].

Furthermore, effective and efficient methods of ensuring proper communication need to be devised. It is also suggested that industrial psychology has an important role to play in determining communication matters such as the content, timing, method, barriers, achieving objectives and the reaction to the communication.

One of these clauses of bargaining council agreements talks about negotiation procedure and it sets out the parameters for further negotiations on both substantive and procedural issues.

It is advised that the subject matter of negotiations should be stipulated and 22 annual negotiations on substantive issues be provided for and subject matters of negotiations clearly clarified 5.

At this point negotiations around wage and salaries should be agreed to in line with budgetary constraints. The most beneficial form of engagement between employers should be interactive and a combination of both formal and informal engagement. This is confirmed by Bendix who states that although formal engagement is a must, informal engagement is invaluable. It is stated that active and genuine engagement goes beyond statutory consultation and that trade union involvement can build a positive culture of openness, good communications, mutual understanding and non-adversarial resolutions.

This can lead to improved services, efficiency savings, improved productivity, better access to services and new ways of working. Furthermore, in order to maximize benefits, it is vital that the local authority employers and trade unions agree a clear set of principles for engagement and involvement.

It is therefore recommended that further research in field be undertaken. Previous research shows that not only does it impact negatively on the labour relationship; it affects other stakeholders such as employees, communities, investors and others. In light of the above statement, the evidence and literature there was a need to assess the current engagement between employers and trade unions in CoJ and investigate more creative means of engagement.

Internationally, there is evidence of a steady decline in union membership or the recognition of trade unions. In South Africa, trade unions still play a key role in the economy and there is a need to foster good relations between employers and unions.

Bendix concludes that the manner in which the parties behave towards each other as well as their status and roles within the relationship is often determined by custom and tradition and hence the need to establish a legal framework within which the labour relationship can be conducted.

Then again, is it not the legal framework that is impeding the constructive engagement between the unions and employers?