Labor Relations Assignment
In this assignment you will have to read the Labor Relations Case Study and answer the questions given below.
Labor Relations Case Study
Susie is one of three human resources officers at Happy Valley local council, reporting to the manager of human resources (HR). Most of her work time is usually taken up with the recruitment and selection of new employees, but she has been given a project on ‘absenteeism’ to undertake. The council’s CEO is concerned about the costs resulting from an average 10% absenteeism rate across the workforce—costs produced by the need to cover absent staff either with agency workers or with excessively high internal staffing levels. As well, absenteeism often produces poor service and customer dissatisfaction and it delays major building projects. Susie’s task has been to gather detailed information about the extent of the problem, analyze its causes and suggest alternative remedial strategies by exploring the academic literature on absenteeism, contacting other councils to canvass their approaches, examining the internal statistics from payroll and talking to managers. This research task has become a nightmare!
The internal statistics are terrible, inconsistently maintained and confused by different definitions of absenteeism between departments and changes to the definitions over time, while the literature and the experiences of other councils does not seem to offer any consistent approach or obvious lessons. Despite all the problems, Susie has discovered a couple of undeniable facts. First, absenteeism rates differ enormously between departments at council, with parks and grounds and transport departments being by far the worst. Second, these same departments have been staffed by long-term employees and managers who have been with the council for centuries! They seem to have developed what Susie remembers from her university studies as indulgency patterns, whereby managers and staff have come to expect that everyone has a right to use their full sick leave entitlements each year and that it is perfectly legitimate for staff to arrange a week in advance to be ‘sick’. The result is 20% absenteeism in these departments, with a strong pattern of absences on Mondays and Fridays. Susie knows her report and its recommendations are going to get messy—the manager of parks and grounds is a friend of her HR manager. She is going to be delivering ‘bad’ news. To make matters worse, the parks and grounds department is strongly unionized and this important group of employees may go on strike if they see any management action as unfair.
Labor Relations Case Study Questions
- Describe the facts in this case in order of priority.
- What are the labor relations problems that management is facing?
- What are the probable underlying root causes to these problems?
- Based on your reading, class lecture and discussion and your own research – what recommendations do you have to solve the problems?
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