Everything you need to know about the grievance management. Grievances are symptoms of conflicts in the enterprise.
So they should be handled very promptly and efficiently. Coping with grievances forms an important part of any manager’s job.
The manner in which he deals with grievances determines his efficiency of dealing with subordinates. A manager is successful if he able to build a team of satisfied workers removing their grievances.
A grievance denotes any discontentment or dissatisfaction in an employee arising out of anything related to the enterprise where he is working.
It may not be expressed and even may not be valid. It arises when an employee feels that something has happened or is going to happen which is unfair, unjust or inequitable.
1. Introduction to Grievance Management 2. Meaning and Definitions of Grievance Management 3. Concept 4. Nature 5. Forms 6. Identification
7. Causes 8. Grievance Handling Procedures 9. Mechanism for Handling Grievance Management 10. Grievance Procedure 11. Grievance Management in Indian Industries 12. Settlement of Grievances in Indian Industry.
Grievance Management: Meaning and Definitions, Grievance Handling Procedure, Mechanism and Settlement
- Introduction to Grievance Management
- Meaning and Definitions of Grievance Management
- Concept of Grievance Management
- Nature of Grievance Management
- Forms of Grievances
- Identification of Grievance
- Causes of Grievance Management
- Grievance Handling Procedures
- Mechanism for Handling Grievance Management
- Grievance Procedure
- Grievance Management in Indian Industries
- Settlement of Grievances in Indian Industry
Grievance Management – Introduction
Organisations are a part of society and employee has certain expectations which must be fulfilled by the organisation where he is working. Due to different social background and various psychological factors employees occasionally have to be uncomfortable or aggrieved about certain managerial decisions, practices or service conditions.
In some cases, the employees have complaints against their employers, while in others it is the employers who have a grievance against their employees. For smooth selling of the organisation, it is necessary to pay immediate attention on these grievances and complaints.
A grievance can be defined as an employee’s dissatisfaction or feeling of personal injustice relating to his or her employment relationship. This feeling does not have to be expressed to become a grievance or neither does it have to be true or correct. A feeling that arises from imaginary conditions or from incorrect reasoning is still a grievance if it causes a feeling of injustice.
Dale Yader defines a grievance as “a written complaint filed by an employee and claiming unfair treatment. Keith Davis, defines a grievance as “any real or imagined feeling of personal injustice which an employee has concerning his employment relationship.” On the other hand, according to Michael J. Jucius the term grievance means “any discontent or dissatisfaction, whether expressed or not, whether or not arising out of anything connected with the company that an employee thinks, believes or even feels to be unfair, unjust or in equitable”.
On the other hand, grievance is simply a complaint when the employee feels that an injustice has been committed, which has been formally presented in writing, to a management representation or to union officials in the language of labour relations from management angle. In democratic system, it is accepted that employees shall be able to express their dissatisfaction whether it be a minor irritation, a serious problem, or a difference of opinion with the supervisor over terms and conditions of employment.
As per opinion of Flippo, “the grievance is usually more formal in character than a complaint. It can be valid or ridiculous, and must grow out of something connected with company operations or policy. It must involve an interpretation or application of the provisions of the labour contract.”
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) defines grievances as “a complaint of one or more workers in respect of wages, allowances, conditions of work and interpretation of service stipulations, covering such areas as overtime, leave, transfer, promotion, seniority, job assignment and termination of service.”
In the opinion of the National Commission on Labour (NCL), “complaints affecting one or more individual workers in respect wage payments, overtime, leave, transfer, promotion, seniority, work assignment and discharges constitute grievances.” The grievance has narrow perspective; it is concerned with the interpretation of a contract or award as applied on employee or the employees, it generally give rise to unhappiness, discontent poor morale, and ultimately lead to inefficiency of workers, low productivity and absenteeism.
Grievance Management – Meaning and Definitions
It is different to find a company where the employees do not have grievances of one kind or the other. The grievances may be real or imaginary, valid or invalid, genuine or false. A grievance produces unhappiness, discontent, indifference, low morale, frustration, etc. Ultimately, it affects employees’ concentration, efficiency and productivity.
A majority of the industrial disputes that result in grave repercussions originate from minor grievances. If such grievances are settled amicably in time, many of the disputes could be prevented. It is the rationale of the mutual acceptability of the grievance procedure. Therefore, grievance procedure is expected to be effective tool in the tool kit of corporate managers handling manpower as well as human relations in the Indian industry.
The term “grievance” denotes any discontent or dissatisfaction whether expressed or not and whether valid or not, arising out of anything connected with the company that an employee thinks, believes or even feels is unfair, unjust or inequitable.
Keith Davis defines a grievance as, “any real or imagined feeling of personal injustice which an employee has concerning his employment relationship”.
Pigors and Myers observe that the three terms, dissatisfaction, complaint, and grievance indicate various forms and stages of employee dissatisfaction. According to them, dissatisfaction is “anything that disturbs an employee, whether or not he expresses his unrest in words… A complaint is a spoken or written dissatisfaction, brought to the attention of the supervisor and the shop steward… A grievance is simply a complaint that has been ignored, overridden, or dismissed without due consideration”.
Prof. Flippo defined a grievance in the words, “A complaint becomes a grievance when the employee feels that an injustice has been committed. If the supervisor ignores the complaint dissatisfaction grows within the employee, it usually assumes the status of a grievance. A grievance in business organizations is always expressed, either verbally or in writing. A grievance is usually more formal in character than a complaint. It can, of course, be either valid or ridiculous, and must grow out of something connected with company operations or policy. In many instances, it must involve an interpretation or application of provisions of the labor contract.”
A grievance denotes any discontentment or dissatisfaction in an employee arising out of anything related to the enterprise where he is working. It may not be expressed and even may not be valid. It arises when an employee feels that something has happened or is going to happen which is unfair, unjust or inequitable.
Thus, a grievance represents a situation in which an employee feels that something unfavourable to him has occurred or is likely to occur. In an industrial enterprise, an employee may have grievance because of long hours of work, non-fulfilment of terms of service by the management, unfair treatment in promotion, poor working facilities etc.
Grievance Management – Concept
Emergence of grievance is a natural outcome of interaction among people, whether in organizational context or in other context. In the organizational context, employees may have some grievances against employer; in the same way, employer may have grievances, against employees. Grievance is a state of dissatisfaction over some issues related to employment. Generally, expression of this dissatisfaction-is known as grievance.
National Commission on Labour (India) has taken the view that “complaints affecting one or more individual workers in respect of wage payments, overtime, leave, transfer, promotion, seniority, work assignment, and other discharges constitute grievances.”
Based on the above definitions, we may derive that:
1. Grievance is a feeling of an employee that an injustice has been done to him.
2. The feeling may be valid and legitimate, or untrue; and may arise out of something connected with the work or the organization.
When employees have grievances and these are not redressed properly, these result in frustration, discontent, and indifference to work, poor morale, and low productivity. Accumulated grievances among employees may lead to turmoil in the organization.
Grievance Management – Nature
Grievances are symptoms of conflicts in the enterprise. So they should be handled very promptly and efficiently. Coping with grievances forms an important part of any manager’s job. The manner in which he deals with grievances determines his efficiency of dealing with subordinates. A manager is successful if he able to build a team of satisfied workers removing their grievances. While dealing with grievances of subordinates, it is necessary to understand the nature of grievances.
Expressed grievances are comparatively easy to recognize and are manifested in several ways, e.g., gossiping, jealousy, active criticism, argumentation, increased labor turnover, carelessness in the use of tools and materials, untidy housekeeping, poor workmanship, etc.
Indifference to work, day-dreaming, absenteeism and tardiness are indicators of unexpressed grievances. The executive must recognize not only expressed grievances but also notice unexpressed ones. In fact, unexpressed or implied grievances are more serious than the expressed ones because it is not known when they may explode.
Hence, the executive should develop a special sensitivity for anticipating grievances. He should be sensitive to even the weak and ‘implied’ signals from the employee.
An employee may casually remark that it is too hot in the room or that he has been assigned a job that he does not like. All such casual remarks and grumbling are grievances by implication. Only for a painstaking and observant supervisor it is possible to discover what is bothering employees before they themselves are aware of grievances.
The personnel department can be helpful by training supervisors to become proficient in observing employees. The techniques of attitude surveys and statistical interpretations of trends of turnover, complaints, transfers, suggestions, etc., are also helpful in this connection.
When a grievance of an employee comes to the notice of the management it cannot usually dismiss it as irrational or untrue. Such grievances also have to be attended to by the management in the same way as rational grievances.
We should know that a large part of our behavior is irrational. This may be largely due to our distorted perception. Emotional grievances are based upon sentiments (like love, hatred, resentment, anger, envy, fear etc.), misconceptions and lack of thinking are examples of our irrational behavior. These grievances are the most difficult to handle.
One advantage of giving a widest possible meaning to the term “grievance” is that the possibility of the manager overlooking any complaint is very much reduced. Even those discontents that have not yet assumed great importance for the complainant and have therefore not moved into formal procedural channels – such as casual remarks or grumbling-technically called complaints, come within the purview of the grievance handling machinery of the organization and are removed in the course.
Opinion surveys, group meetings, periodical interviews with employees, collective bargaining sessions and some other means through which one can get information about employee’s dissatisfaction before it turns into a grievance.
Grievance Management – Forms of Grievances: Factual, Imaginary and Disguised
A grievance may take any one of the following forms:
(ii) Imaginary, and
Factual grievances arise when legitimate needs of employees remain unfulfilled, e.g., wage hike has been agreed but not implemented.
When an employee’s grievance is because of wrong perception, wrong attitude or wrong information. Though it is not the fault of management, the responsibility for their redressal still rents with the management.
An employee may have dissatisfaction for reasons that are unknown to himself. If he or she is under pressure from family, friends, relatives, neighbours, he or she may reach the work spot with a heavy heart. If a new recruit gets a new table and cupboard, this may become an eye shore to other employees who have not been treated like wise previously.
Grievance Management – Identification of Grievance: 5 Proactive Methods of Addressing Grievances
Grievance should be redressed by adopting proactive approach rather than reactive approach. The proactive approach addresses the factors responsible for emergence of grievance. In other words, management does not allow grievance causing situation to emerge.
But in reactive approach, a particular grievance gets redressed but the underlying cause continues to exist. Unless it is rooted out lock, stock and barrel, there cannot be any permanent solution.
The following are the proactive methods of addressing grievances:
1. Exit Interview
Information collected from the exiting employee on various aspects of working conditions forcing him to quit is supposed to be more credible than those expressed by the existing workers.
2. Gripe Box System:
Employees may be encouraged to drop anonymous complaints as they may fear that their identity may invite victimisation especially when they complain against the management. This method is more appropriate when there is lack of trust and understanding between employees and their supervisors.
3. Opinion Survey:
Various surveys line morale survey, attitude survey, job satisfaction survey, grievance survey or comprehensive survey comprising all the above aspects, reveal vital inputs about the negative aspects of functioning of the organization. Since the survey is conducted by persons other than the supervisor and the respondent’s identify is not insisted upon, information collected is likely to be reliable.
Group meeting, periodical interviews, collective bargaining sessions, informal get-togethers may be used to collect information about grievances.
5. Open-Door Policy:
Under this policy any employee can lodge complaint or file his grievance with the manager designated for this purpose. The very objective of this policy is to encourage upward communication.
Grievance Management – Causes of Grievances in Industrial Organizations
In order to tackle the grievances efficiently, it is necessary to find and analyse the grievances of the subordinates. If a grievance is found to be genuine or real, the corrective action should be taken immediately. But if the grievance arises due to imagination or disturbed frame of mind of the worker, then it is necessary to explain and clear up the matter. Before dealing with the grievances, their causes must be diagnosed.
But when the grievances are not given expression by the subordinates, it is manager’s job to detect the possible grievances and their causes. He may realize the existence of grievances because of high labour turnover, high rate of absenteeism and poor quality of work. These problems will go on multiplying if the causes of grievances are not cured.
Grievances generally arise from the day-to-day working relations in the undertaking, usually a worker or trade union protest against an act or omission or management that is considered to violate worker’s rights.
Grievances typically arise on such questions as discipline and dismissal, the payment of wages and other fringe benefits, working time, over-time and time-off entitlements, promotions, demotion and transfer, rights deriving from seniority rights of supervisors and union officers, job classification problems, the relationships of work rules to the collective agreement and the fulfilment of obligations relating to safety and health laid down in the agreement.
Such grievances, if not dealt with in accordance with a procedure that secures the respect of the parties, can result in embitterment of the working relationship and a climate of industrial strife.
In brief, the following are the causes of grievances in industrial organizations:
(b) Excessive self-esteem
(c) Impractical attitude to life.
(a) Wage payment
(b) Job rates
(c) Leave and overtime
(d) Seniority and promotion
(e) Role ambiguity
(f) Disciplinary action
(g) Absence of employee development plan
(a) Strained employer-employee relationship.
(b) Unfavourable physical conditions such as excessive heat, low temperature, excessive humidity etc.
(c) Tight production standards.,
(d) Non-availability of proper tools, machines and equipment for doing the job.
(e) Changes in schedules or procedures.
(f) Mismatch between the job and the worker.
Grievance Management – Grievance Handling Procedures: 4 Step Process
A grievance handling machinery is the method by which a grievance is filed and carried through different steps to an ultimate decision. Therefore, every organisation needs a permanent procedure for handling grievances. There are many common features in the procedures through which disputes involving aggrieved employees may be resolved.
However, variations may result from such factor as differences in an organisational policies or decision making structures or the size of the organisation. Larger organisation tends to have more formal procedure involving a succession of steps.
Some general principles which have gained wide spread support and which can serve as guidelines in establishing a system of positive grievance administration are:
1. Grievances should be adjusted promptly
2. Procedures and forms arriving grievances must be easy to utilize and well understood by employees and their supervisors.
3. Direct and timely avenues of appeal from ruling of live supervision must exist.
As per T.O. Armstrong, a well-designed and a proper grievance procedure provides:
1. A channel or avenue by which an aggrieved employee may present his grievance;
2. A procedure which ensures that there will be a systematic handling of every grievance;
3. A method by which an aggrieved employee can relieve his feelings of dissatisfaction with his job, working condition, or with the management, and
4. A means of ensuring that there is some measure promptness in the handling of the grievance.
The details of the grievance procedure vary from organisation to organisation and from trade union because of the variations in the size of organisation’s in trade union strength, in the tradition, in industrial practices and in the cost factor.
The most common grievance procedure is in four steps which is explained below:
The first step involves a presentation of the employee’s grievance to the immediate supervisor because he is the first step of the ladder. If the organisation is unionized, a representation of the union may also join him. This step offers the greatest potential for improved labour relations. The large number of grievances are settled at this stage but grievance, which are related to the issue of policies of the organisation are beyond the limit of supervisor, then the aggrieved moves to next step.
If the employee is not satisfied with decision of 1st step or fails to receive an answer within the stipulated period, he shall, either in person or accompanied by his departmental representative if required, present his grievance to the head of department designated by the management for the purpose of handling grievance. (A fixed time shall be specified during which of any working day, aggrieved employee could meet the departmental head for presentation of grievances).
The departmental head shall give his answer within three days of presentation of his grievance. If the action cannot be taken within that period, the reason for the delay should be recorded.
If the decision of the departmental head is unsatisfactory the aggrieved employee may request for forwarding of his grievance to the Grievance Committee which shall make its recommendations to the manager within seven days of the employee’s request. If the recommendations cannot be made within the time limit, the reason for such delay should be recorded. The unanimous recommendations of the grievance committee, the views of the members and the relevant papers shall be placed before the manager for final decision.
In either case, the final decision of the management shall be communicated to the concerned employee by the personnel officer within three days from the receipt of the Grievance Committee recommendations.
If the decision of the management is not communicated to the employee within stipulated period or if it is unsatisfactory for him, he shall have right to appeal to the management for revision., if he so desires,he shall have the right to take a union official along with him to facilitate discussion with management. Management shall communicate its decision to him within a week of the presentation of the employee’s revised petition.
If no agreement is possible, the union and the management may refer the grievance to voluntary arbitration within a week from the date of the receipt by the employee of the management’s decision.
The formal conciliation machinery shall not intervene till all the steps in the model grievance procedure have been exhausted. A grievance shall be presumed to assume the form of a dispute only when the final decision of the top management in this respect is not acceptable to the employee.
Further, in case of any grievance arising out of discharge or dismissal of an employee, the above mentioned procedure shall not apply. Discharge or Dismissed employee shall have the right to appeal either to dismissing authority or to a superior authority who shall be specified by the management within a week from the date of dismissal discharge.
At present, Indian industries are using either the Model Grievance Procedure or procedures formulated by themselves with certain modifications in the Model Grievance Procedure as per their requirements. In general the grievance procedures are voluntary in nature constitution of the Grievance Committee.
Grievance Management – Mechanism for Handling Grievance Management
Every organization requires a mechanism for handling grievances. This mechanism usually consists of a number of steps arranged in a hierarchical order.
The number of these steps varies with the size of the organization. In a small organization, the supervisor and the manager may be only two steps-but a big organization may have as many as ten steps. The first and the last steps are almost the same for all organizations. Though a labor union is not essential to the establishment and operation of a grievance procedure, yet it is an important factor to it.
The grievance first is reported to the frontline-supervisor, as he is the first rung of the ladder. If the concern is unionized, a representative of the union may also join him. This step is very necessary to preserve the authority of the supervisor over his workers. But the supervisor cannot handle all grievances because many of them involve issues or policies that are beyond the limits of the authority. There may be some grievances that he may fail to redress and find solution for.
Hence provision is made for a second step in handling grievances. This second step may be the personnel officer himself or some middle-level line executive. If the concern is unionized, some higher personnel in the union hierarchy may join him. It should, however, be remembered that by injecting the personnel office.
Grievance Management – Grievance Procedure (Features and Benefits of Grievance Procedure)
i. Conformity with Existing Legislation:
The procedure should be designed to supplement the existing statutory provisions. Where practicable the procedure can make use of such machinery as the law might have already provided for.
Everybody must accept the grievance procedure. In order to be generally acceptable it must ensure (a) a sense of fair-play and justice to the worker, (b) Reasonable exercise of authority to manager, (c) Adequate participation of the union.
The procedure should be simple enough to be understood by every employee. The steps should be as few as possible. Channels for handling grievances should be carefully developed. Employees must know the authorities to be contacted at various levels. Information about procedure can be thoroughly disseminated among all employees through pictures.
The grievance should be speedily settled. Justice delayed is justice denied. The procedure should aim at a rapid disposal of the grievance.
The executives can achieve this by incorporating the following features in procedure:
(a) The grievances should be settled at the lowest possible level.
(b) No matter should ordinarily be taken up at more than two levels.
(c) Different types of grievances may be referred to appropriate authorities. It may be useful to classify grievances as those arising from personnel relationship and others arising out of conditions of employment. In the former case, a grievance should be taken up in first instance, with the authority in the line management immediately above the officer against whom the complaint is made.
Thereafter, the matter may go to the grievance committee comprising representatives of management and worker. Other grievances should be taken up in the first instance with the authority designated by the management. Thereafter, a reference may be made to the grievance committee and finally to the top management.
(d) Time limit should be fixed at each step and it should be rigidly followed at each level.
In order to ensure effective working of the grievance procedure it is necessary that supervisors and the union representatives be given training in grievance handling.
The working of the procedure should be reviewed periodically by the personnel department and necessary structural changes introduced to make it more effective.
i. A grievance procedure brings grievances into the open so that management can know about them and try corrective action.
ii. It helps in preventing grievances from becoming serious. The management finds an opportunity to catch and solves a grievance before it becomes a dispute.
iii. It provides employees a formalized means of emotional release for their dissatisfactions. Even if a worker does not use the grievance system for his own emotional release in a particular situation, he feels better because he knows the system is there to use if he wants to do so. It builds within him sense of emotional security.
iv. It assists s in establishing and maintaining a work culture of the organization. As problems are interpreted in the grievance procedure, the group learns how it is expected to respond to the established policies.
v. Arbitrary and capricious management actions get checked upon. When a manager knows that his actions are subject to challenge and review in a grievance system he becomes more careful in taking his decisions.
Grievance Management – In Indian Industries
On the legal front, it is usually the Industrial Employments (Standing Orders) Act, 1946; the Factories Act, 1948; and the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, which deal with the grievances of industrial employees. However, these Acts have not been able to tackle the problem and the progress made in this regard is far from satisfactory.
In addition to these Acts, the Model Grievance Procedure or the Grievance Procedures evolved by different organisations at their own which are usually based on the Model Grievance Procedure formulated in pursuance of the Code of Discipline adopted by the 16th Session of the ILC are in vogue to handle grievances.
As per the findings of a study of 12 textile mills located in Coimbatore which was jointly sponsored by the South India Textile Research Association and the National Productivity Council, no systematic and formal grievance procedure exists in any of the sample mills. There is a sort of informal procedure based on traditions and conventions that is operative in most organisations. However, some large-scale units do not have any procedure worth mentioning.
In most organisations in our industries, there is no systematic procedure of maintaining records of grievances. Union representatives play an important role in the settlement of grievances where there is only one majority union. In many organisations, it is the labour officers or the labour welfare officers who deal with some of the grievances in their respective organisations.
In some cases, the Works Committees constituted under the provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, also play some role in this direction, but it is not significant. Most of the grievances in Indian industries are related to wages and allied issues. The number of levels dealing with grievance differ from organisation to organisation and vary between two and six.
It may be suggested that while in small organisations employing less than 500 employees, the grievance procedure may have 3 stages only, in medium-sized units employing 501 and above but up to 2,000 employees, it may have 5 stages and in rest of the organisations, the grievance procedures may have 6 stages.
All said and done, there is no denying the fact that a formal grievance handling procedure can play a highly significant role in redressing the grievances of employees, which, in turn, may give a boost to the morale of employees and be effective in increasing their productivity and subsequently the overall growth of an organisation.
Grievance Management – Settlement of Grievances in Indian Industry
Settlement of grievances has not received adequate attention in our legislative framework. Present enactments that only indirectly deal with the redressal of individual grievances are the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act 1946; the Factories Act 1948; and the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.
The Industrial Employment Act provides that every establishment employing 100 or more workers should frame Standing Orders which should contain, among other matters, provision for means of redress for workmen against unfair treatment or wrongful exactions by the employer or his agents or servants.
Similarly, Section 49 of the Factories Act 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 complaints and grievances.
Under Section 2-A of the Industrial Disputes Act (which was added to the Act by an amendment made in 1965), the term “industrial dispute” includes all differences between an individual workman and his employer connected with, or arising out of his discharge, dismissal, retrenchment or termination notwithstanding that no other workman nor any union or workmen is a party to dispute.
The effect of this provision is that the individual grievances of a worker can in future pass through the settlement machinery that has been provided for under the Act.
It should be noted, however, that in none of the above Acts there exists a provision for some specific procedure to be followed by the employer for handling day-to-day grievances of his workers. In the absence of a statutory grievance procedure several managements allow their workers’ daily discontent to pile up which finally culminates into cases of indiscipline and strikes.
In order to meet the shortcoming, the Industrial Disputes (Amendment) act, 1982, which has not yet been enforced, provides for the setting up of Grievance Settlement Authorities and reference of certain individual disputes to such authorities.
Section 9-C of the Amended Act provides:
(i) The employer in relation to every industrial establishment in which fifty or more workmen are employed or have been employed on any day in the preceding twelve months, shall provide for, in accordance with the rules made on that behalf under this Act, a Grievance Settlement Authority for the settlement of industrial disputes connected with an individual workman employed in the establishment.
(ii) Where an industrial dispute connected with individual workmen arises in an establishment referred to in sub-section (1), a workman or any trade union of workmen of which such workman is a member, refer in such manner as may be prescribed such dispute to the Grievance Settlement Authority provided for by the employer under that sub-section for settlement.
(iii) The Grievance Settlement Authority referred to in sub-section (1) shall follow such procedure and complete its proceedings within such period as may be prescribed.
(iv) No reference shall be made under Chapter III with respect to any dispute referred to in this section unless such dispute has been referred to the Grievance Settlement Authority concerned and the decision of the Grievance Settlement Authority is not acceptable to any of the parties to the dispute.
The National Commission on Labor has given a statutory backing for the formulation of an effective grievance procedure that should be simple, flexible, less cumbrous, and more or less on the lines of the present Model Grievance Procedure. It should be time-bound and have a limited number of steps, say approach to the supervisor, then to the departmental head, and thereafter a reference to the “Grievance Committee” consisting of management and union representative. It should be made applicable to only those units that employ more than 100 workers.
The Industrial Disputes (Amendment) Act, 1982 has provided for a reference of certain individual disputes to grievance settlement authorities. Section 9C of the Act stipulates that in every establishment in which one hundred or more workmen are employed or have been employed on any day in the preceding twelve months, the employer shall set-up a time-bound grievance redresser procedure. However, this particular provision has not come into force.
A grievance procedure, whether formal or informal, statutory or voluntary, has to ensure that it gives a sense of satisfaction to the individual worker, a reasonable exercise of authority to the manager and an opportunity of participation to the unions. The introduction of unions in the grievance procedure is necessary because ultimately it is the union that is answerable to its members. It is also important that any procedure, to be effective, should be simple and have a provision for at least one appeal.
A basic ingredient of the procedure should be that the total number of steps involved should be limited; not more than four are generally envisaged even in the largest units. A grievance procedure should normally provide for three steps, namely, (a) approach to the immediate supervisor; (b) appeal to the departmental head/manager; and (c) appeal to the bipartite grievance committee representing management and the recognized union.
The constitution of the committee should have a provision that in case no unanimous decision is possible, the unsettled grievance may be referred to an arbitrator.