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Disputes and Dispute Resolution: The Effect of Union Density on Employee Intention to Quit — An Indian Study
Published in SAGE Journals
2008
Volume: 33
   
Issue: 2
Pages: 290 - 300
Abstract
Research indicates that the factors that contribute to the adoption of dispute resolution mechanisms include the structure of the mechanisms, the role of the union steward, the applicable rights of the employees and the mandate and the relationship between the employer and the employee. A review of the existing literature suggests that employees in unionized workplaces have significantly more voice mechanisms present than in non-unionized workplaces. In India, historically, the trade unions have played the role of an agent of social and economic changes, protecting and enhancing the interest of its members and trying to squeeze more and more out of managements through bargaining or conflict. To achieve this, they have resorted to several means ranging from collective bargaining and representation to strikes and disruptive activities. Moreover, despite the presence of several industrial acts, the grievance procedures do not receive much attention due to complexities arising out of inarticulate treatment and lack of understanding of issues in bargaining, joint consultation and grievance redressal by all the actors in the industrial relations system.Unions protect workers directly from arbitrary discipline while providing management with a means of managing the workforce that does not call on the use of overt sanctions since industrial action performed an additional voice function. The procedures for direct employee involvement in form of suggestion schemes, joint departmental councils and open house meetings are seen to be successful only in the presence of a union. It is the presence of union officials in such forums and their pursuance of issues that indeed makes them effective. It is observed that meaningful and lasting employee participation occurs only when the union has sufficient power to induce the management to forgo some of its traditional prerogatives; the union and management share a vision of how participation could serve the interests of both the parties; and when the union has substantial institutional security. Presence of a powerful collective bargaining machinery and proactive communication between the management and the unions not only minimises the grievances but also promotes healthy industrial relations. Workers have a reduced capacity to initiate issues and articulate grievances in the non-unionized workplaces and they enjoy comparatively less benefits than their unionized counterparts.While workers joined unions because they thought unions could protect them against victimization, secure the wage increases and ensure job security and improved conditions of work, on the other hand, in the absence of unions, employees may not raise disputes because of fear of victimization, fear of being branded disloyal to the organization and fear of reprisals by the management. Based on the literature review and analysis, a framework linking union density, employee prolificacy to raise disputes, management propensity to make decisions unilaterally and workers intention to quit has been suggested.
About the journal
JournalManagement and Labour Studies
PublisherSAGE Journals
ISSN0258-042X
Open AccessNo