Grievance Management – Meaning, Definitions, Features, Causes, Effects and Procedure

Essentials Prerequisites of Grievance Management Procedure
It is advisable to set up an effective grievance procedure in the organization. The procedure should be flexible enough to meet the requirements of the organization. It should be simple so that an average employee is able to understand it. Though such a procedure will vary in different organizations, yet the following principles should be observed while laying down a grievance procedure:

1. Legal Sanctity
The procedure should be in conformity with the existing law. It should be designed to supplement the statutory provisions. Wherever possible, the procedure should make use of the machinery provided under legislation. The procedure may be incorporated in the standing orders or collective bargaining agreement of the organization.

2. Acceptability
The grievance procedure must be acceptable to all and should, therefore, be developed with mutual consultation among management, workers and the union. In order to be generally acceptable, the procedure must ensure
a) A sense of fair play and justice to workers;
b) Reasonable exercise of authority to managers and
c) Reasonable participation to the union.

3. Promptness
The grievance of the employee should be promptly handled and necessary action must be taken immediately. This is good for both the employee and management, because if the wrong doer is punished late, it may affect the morale of other employees as well.

4. Simplicity
The grievance handling procedure should be simple and short. If the procedure is complicated it may discourage employees and they may fail to make use of it in a proper manner.

5. Training
The supervisors and the union representatives should be properly trained in all aspects of grievance handling beforehand or else it will complicate the problem.

6. Follow-up
The personnel department should keep track of the effectiveness and the functioning of grievance handling procedure and make necessary changes to improve it from time to time.

7. Unambiguity
Every aspect of the grievance handling procedure should be clear and unambiguous. All employees should know whom to approach first when they have a grievance, whether the complaint should be written or oral, the maximum time in which the redressal is assured etc. The redressing official should also know the limits within which he can take the required action.

Grievance Redressal in Indian Industry
In Indian industry, adequate attention has not been paid to the settlement of grievances. Legislative framework only indirectly deals with the redressal of individual grievances. It consists of :

1. The Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946
It provides that every establishment employing 100 or more workers should frame standing orders which should contain, among other matters, provision for means of redressing the workers against unfair treatment or wrongful exactions by the employer or his agents or servants.

2. The Factories Act, 1948
It provides for the appointment of welfare officers in every factory wherein 500 or more workers are ordinarily employed. These officers are generally entrusted with the task of dealing with grievances and complaints. However, these provisions are not helpful due to the dual role which these officers are called upon to play.

3. The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947
This laws provides:
i. The employer in relation to every industrial establishment in which fifty or more workmen are employed shall provide for a Grievance Settlement Authority for the settlement of industrial disputes connected with an industrial workman employed in the establishment. The provisions of this authority shall be in accordance with rules made in that behalf.
ii. Where an industrial dispute connected with an individual workman arises in an establishment referred to above, a workman or any trade union of workmen of which such workman is a member may refer such dispute to the grievance Settlement Authority for settlement.
iii. The Grievance Settlement Authority shall follow such procedure and complete its proceedings within such period as may be prescribed.
iv. No reference shall be made to Boards, Courts or Tribunals of any dispute referred to in this section unless such dispute has been referred to the Grievance Settlement Authority concerned and the decision of the authority is not acceptable to any of the parties to the dispute.

Model Grievance Procedure
The 15th session of the Indian Labour Conference (July 19570 took up the matter of establishing a grievance procedure acceptable to both the management and workers union in an industrial unit and a sub-committee was formed for the purpose. The 16th session of the Indian Labour Conference (1958) approved the principles of industrial discipline evolved by the committee. A Model Grievance Procedure which is a part of Code of Discipline was drawn up.
The model grievance procedure envisages the creation of a grievance machinery to administer the procedure. According to it worker’s representatives are to be elected for a department or their union is to nominate them. Otherwise workers representatives on the workers committee are to be taken as their representatives. The management has to specify the persons in each department who are to be approached at the first step and the heads of the department who are to process the grievance at the second step. These representatives of workers and management are to constitute the joint, bipartite Grievance Committee. It should be noted that the whole procedure is time bound.
The Model Grievance Procedure gives in detail the steps through which a grievance is to be processed. These may be summarized as under:

i. The aggrieved employee shall first present his grievance verbally in person to the officer nominated/appointed by the management for this purpose. The officer must give his answer within forty-eight hours of the presentation of the complaint.
ii. If the employee does not receive an answer within the stipulated time or he is not satisfied with the answer, he shall, either in person or with his departmental (or any representative) present his grievance to the head of the department designated for this purpose. The departmental head is required to furnish his answer within three days of the presentation of the grievance.
iii. If the employee is not satisfied with the answer, he can approach Grievance Committee which shall evaluate the case and make its recommendations to management within seven days of presentation of the case. The employee would be communicated the recommendation within three days.
iv. If the committee fails to take decision within the stipulated period or the employee is not satisfied with the decision he cacn make an appeal for revision to management. Management is supposed to communicate its decisions within seven days of the worker’s revised petition.
v. If the employee is unsatisfied with the management’s decision, union and management may refer to grievance to voluntary arbitration within a week of the receipt of management’s decision by the aggrieved employee.

Advantages of a Grievance Procedure
Grievances are natural in any organization. These should be solved as early as possible, otherwise they can create serious problems for the organization, the industry and society. A systematic procedure should therefore be developed to settle all grievance. Such a procedure provides following benefits:
1. The employees gets chance to ventilate his feelings. He can let off steam through an official channel. Certain problems of workers cannot be solved by first line supervisors, for these supervision lack the expertise that the top management has, by virtue of their professional knowledge and experience.
2. It keeps a check on the supervisor’s attitude and behavior towards their subordinates. They are compelled to listen to subordinate patiently and sympathetically.
3. It helps in preventing grievances from assuming dangerous proportions. Management can solve a grievance before it becomes a dispute. It is an orderly and expeditious means for redresaal of grievances.
4. It helps to maintain cordial relations in the industry. It brings uniformity in the handling of grievances. It also stimulates confidence in employees and builds a sense of security among them. It enables both the parties to settle the grievances to their mutual satisfaction.
5. It enables the management to know the attitudes and feelings of employee concerning the policies, rules and practices of the organization. With such knowledge necessary improvements in policies and rules can be made.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to top
You cannot copy content of this page. The content on this website is NOT for redistribution