Firms' industrial grievance shortcomings highlighted

Less than half of firms have formal written guidelines on how to tackle grievances among a group of workers, new research reveals.

The UCD study found 78.5% of businesses had a policy dealing with a problem involving one employee, but just 42% had rules on what to do if the gripe spread.

More assertive employees better informed about rights was one of the key reasons for bosses developing conflict resolution practices, according to the survey, the first of its kind in Ireland.

Bill Roche, UCD industrial relations and human resources professor, said: “No organisation is immune to workplace conflict.

“It can occur in big firms or small firms, multinational organisations or domestically owned firms and unionised or non-union organisations.”

Some 500 managers of firms based in Ireland were surveyed as part of the study.

Some of the key findings of the research, conducted on behalf of the Labour Relations Commission, include:

:: Three key influences behind firms establishing conflict resolution practices.

:: To resolve workplace conflict in-house (93.7%), to develop a less adversarial industrial relations climate in the firm (84.5%), to respond to laws about providing employees with individual employment rights (76.9%).

:: 66% of firms recognised there was a need for practices that resolved problems more quickly.

:: 78.5% of firms reported having a formal written policy on individual grievances, but less then half, 42.9%, have a formal written policy to deal with contentious issues involving groups of employees.

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