Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Industrial relations: Work Changes

Industrial relations: Work Changes

The essay below is going to highlight the changes at the work place citing an example of one such change and relating it to an orientation that best suits its application. In the essay therefore, the writer will try to explain the different types of framework s in industrial relations particularly basing their concentration on the neo-liberalism views. Other types of frameworks as regards the Marxist view, and the feminist views are also elaborated on, in order to create an overview of the picture of the difference in the industrial types of frameworks. The first paragraph will cover a brief introduction to the subject topic. After which the writer is going to highlight the main contradicting issues between the pluralism views and the neo liberalism views. Thereafter the writer is going to illustrate an example of work place change and the use of the theory to explain the situation. Finally, a conclusion will be reached from where the reader is able to get a summary of all the issues tackled in the essay.
 A Frame of reference is the way through which different mangers view the employment relationships between them and their employees. This can in simple terms be described as a way through which each and every individual views the relations at the workplace. In the society many people consider a framework as the way through which problems occurring in the work place can be discussed and eventually solved at the work lace in terms of how they are viewed. In the frame work concept, there are three main types of frames, namely the pluralism framework, the Marxists and the Neo-liberalism framework (Ackers 2002).
As a frame work, pluralism refers to the cooperation reflected  in terms of demonstrating leadership and loyalty in the work place through accepting that there may arise instances of disagreements in the authority of the leaderships and regardless of this fact, they have to be accepted by the one in the position of authority(Ackers & Wilkinson 2005).
However, there area also other frameworks on which the industrial relations theory is based, these re the Marxism framework which advocates for the rights of the employees stating that although there is conflict between the two parties at hand, it is essential that the plight of the employees is taken very seriously. It mainly revolves around the mobilization aspect of the theory advocating for the strategizes that propagate and encourage the employees to gather power, and to counter reaction  in a different manner in relation to the strategies that will be put forward as regards the policies adopted by the government and their employers. It encourages that in order for the workers to benefit they have to be in constant collision with the capitalist policies that have been implemented to shrink their welfare. Unlike the pluralists, this group does not believe in balance between the two parties but continues to argue that industrial conflict is very beneficial.
Another type of framework is the feminist type which mainly revolves around the concept that the interests of both the men and female counterparts at the work place are never convergent and instead differ in many aspects. It is also argued that in this case therefore, researchers should consider these differences and thus incorporate then in their international relations studies. Initially the feminist framework advocated fro gender balance at the work place but has now become very diverse in it s arguments advocating for issues like race and ethnic composition as regards to the work place composition is concerned. There has been an increase in the desire to examine the issues of sex at the work place in relation to gender and the emotions involved so as o determine the suitable type of jobs to suit all these characteristics. However, it is essential to note that under the feminist type of view some issues correlate with those that are advocated fro in the pluralists view. Some of these are like consideration of the collective bargaining power of the employees and encouragement of the regulation of the law by the government in order to create a fair working environment for the employees. The third form of framework is the neo liberalism which is explained in details through the contrast analysis reflected below.
In regards to the neo liberalism approach, the pluralism view is challenged in the following ways:
It is argued under this prospect that instead of putting the needs of both parties in line, it is essential to ensure that the needs of the employers are first considered other than those of the laborers who work for them. Neo-liberals argue that it is essential that the needs of the employers are out first in regards o consideration to the policies since they act to protect the interest of the consumers (Ackers 2002).Unlike the pluralism view where both of these parties have to cooperate, in the neo liberalism approach, policies that could restrain management in the implementation of their views are regarded as negative to the benefit of the organization. This is unlike the prior theory which aligns both the views of the two parties in order to come to a desirable conclusion so as to properly a common interest (Ackers & Wilkinson 2003).
In the neo liberalism approach, trade unions are viewed as an opposing factor towards the ideas simulated by the management and as such are not treated in a friendly manner. Instead, they do not want their operations challenged by many government legislation or policies that could affect them since they argue that they operate in order to create societal solutions. These institutions that are positively in terms of problem solving as viewed by the pluralists type of management are in this case regard viewed as a pain in the neck and a contributor to the societal problems (Kaufmann 2004). They also question the amount of problems that are as a result of the constant interferences by the regulatory institutions in a bid to regulate the market place as regards the pluralists’. In this aspect therefore, they have asserted that it is very unnecessary for the trade unions to try to seek a balance between the employees and management when in the real sense the main cause of the problem is self employment and the influence of private ownership which in most cases render employees less dependent on the wages they are paid at there work place (Blyton et al 2008).
In regards to minimum wages, the neo- liberalists argue that many of the low income earners in the organizations live in locations where they have multi incomes therefore; they are not completely reliant on their own incomes to make a living (Blyton et al 2008).They also added that it is quite impossible for the regulation carried out in favor of the pluralist theory to be able to sustain the market outcomes in the long run since regulations like the minimum wages only displace the employment levels in the formal sector and not in the informal sector. They additionally state that regardless of allowing the union to interfere in certain matters, they never really aid in the long run since this allows for them to just displace the employment capacities in terms of union economy though it is impossible for them to take the wages out of competition (Kaufmann 2004).
In argument with the pluralism view, they also persist that instead of offering solutions to the group that they intend to offer remedy to, they instead destroy them through subjecting them to loose their jobs being that they are members of the unions .In a last argument, they also state that in a bid to offer solutions to their members, other economical areas are destroyed, these are like the competiveness of the nationals in the country. In this case most of what it advocates for leads to dire consequences. For instance, through raising the costs of education, it has led to effects like ill educated children with poor educational backgrounds that cannot properly compete in the labor markets. In general, it is argued that the effects of the unions have been far much negative than positive with increased cases of poor quality and inefficiencies as related to the desire of managers to elevate the position of its employees instead of considering that of the consumers of the products (Blyton et al 2008).
Due to an increase in the number of competitors and the desire to maximize on sales so as to meet the demand of the different customers we have, we have had to work for longer hours than before. There has been an implementation of 24 hours shift in the organization forcing all the employees to be flexible to work at any time that they may be allocated during shift. In this context, I think that the neo liberalism orientation will explain the change effectively. This is because by increasing the number of working hours for the employees in order to respond to the changes in the market place, just as supported by the orientation argument, the interests of the employers were made dominant over those of the employees. Regardless that the employers view their employees in an important dimension, their customers come first, this is displayed by the fact that they chose to increase the working hours to meet and satisfy for the clients whose shifts are not flexible and therefore, can only be available at odd hours to carry out their shopping ventures.
Under the concept of the neo –liberalism framework, it is argued that it is very essential that measures to keep the interest of the producers are implanted. Therefore, in this case, any bodies that may want to oppose the recommendations put forward by the producers are not taken positively (Ackers & Wilkinson 2003). They are viewed in a manner that reflects that they are acting in a negative light. In this case therefore, since the working hours have been increased in order to cater for the flexibility of their customers, the labor markets may desire to come in to advocate for the right so f the employees in terms of an increase in the wage benefits or to question whether it is right under the law to subject an employee to work longer than the required stated labor hours. Under this kind of orientation, it is argued that incase of such an incident, the management may not take up such arguments positively. These challengers are instead viewed negatively than positively.
The fact that the neo-liberals argue that there change is in fact minimal and May not affect any societal change is a reflection of why this orientation suits the above named change. This is because the management in the above incident mentioned that there would be no impact in the number of hours the people worked since there are going to allocate a certain number of working hours to different individuals to ensure that each is not overworked. Instead the argument was that in so doing, the number of people that will be employed in the company so as to compensate for the extra working hours re going to be many, thereby even improving the standards of living of those in the society.
According to the neo-liberalism approach, management was acting in the sense of responding to the market indicators and therefore it would be irrelevant to come up with laws that may limit there ability to do so in the future (Ackers & Wilkinson 2003). . In this case, the market indicator was that customers’ were not able to sufficiently meet their needs through the day since their work schedules would not allow and therefore there was a cry for help in the sense of longer service hours.
In regards to the above change in my place of work, there have been effects from all angles of operation including the government, employees and the management. In regards to the government legislations, it was of paramount importance that the increase in the number of hours per day in regards to the implementation of shifts be aligned to the present government legislation. The requirements of working time directives had to be followed and keenly adhered to before the implementations were introduced. For instance, it was of paramount essence that the number of hours that an employee worked in a period of time in a stated week would not exceed certain threshold. This therefore meant that with the above implementation, an employee would only work for a maximum of eight hours per day regardless of the shift they had been assigned to. To the employees, these meant that they were very flexible in the way they were expected to offer their services. This meant that with consultation with the management, one could choose the period of time they wanted to work in order to complete their working hours. For them, this meant that they had a lot of free time at their desire to do any other business or work that might interest them. The fact that the employees are also given the freedom to approach the management as regards the flexibility of their work shifts means that they are taken seriously by the management and are considered an element in the decision making process.
In regards to the employers, it means that with the flexibility of the available shifts, they are guaranteed more productivity and motivation from the employees as they feel that they are treated fairly in their own right and thus will strive to produce at their maximum while at the work place.
In regards to the above essay, it is clear that the various types of frameworks view industrial relations in a different perspective. In the pluralist view, equity is advocated for in light of both parties (Blyton et al 2008). That is the workers and the employers, whereas in the neo- liberalism approaches only the plight of the employers is considered important especially in matters regarding policy implications. Other frameworks, which are the Marxist views and the feminist views also, have their own perspective as regards the issue. There have also been various views in argument as to why one type of framework should be adopted in comparison to the rest. However, according to my view, a framework that would consider the joint responsibilities and contributions of the parties in discussion are better than one which is only one sided.

Ackers, P 2002, “Reframing Employment Relations: The Case for Neo-Pluralism,”
Industrial Relations Journal, 33(1): 2-19.

Ackers, P and Wilkinson, A 2003, eds. Understanding Work and Employment:
Industrial Relations in Transition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ackers, P, and Wilkinson, A 2005,“ British Industrial Relations Paradigm: A Critical
Outline History and Prognosis,” Journal of Industrial Relations, 47(4): 443-56.

Blyton, P, Heery E, Bacon N, Fiorito, J 2008, The sage handbook of international relations, Bangladesh, Sage.
Kaufmann, B2004, Theoretical perspectives on work and the employment relationship.