May 22, 2013 | 08:26 AM (BD Time)
22 May, 2013 Wednesday
Resolving inter-group conflicts in organisation
Mohammad Mosaddek Hussain :
Conflict among unions is very common in the organisations/enterprises and industries nowadays. Actually, it emerges from various sources of the interests and benefits. So, these days, the problem of conflict is assuming more and more between the unions in the same organisation that can help to reduce the production and benefit of the organisations or enterprises. This is why we should study this subject with due emphasis to arrest the further growth of conflicts within the organisation..
This type of conflict may create an impression to any one that in the same organisation two or three unions are vying for taking supremacy and at the same time the management is helpless as an onlooker.
Then the rival unions resort to violence and try to intimidate the rival union members. In this crucial situation, some may attempt to destroy the property of the organisation and the management is freed to declare a lock-out so that the whole situation becomes uncontrollable. It is a common pattern in these incidents as well. On the other hand, the union leaders, workers, even the government and the public , would agree that such incidents should not occur for stability and growth of the organisation. Actually, the problem is very vital in all respect due to our incessant effort for growth and economic development and in these processes the production activities should not suffer in any way.
We should first think about the genesis of the problem. Organisational analysis and diagnosis process can be conducive to identify the root causes of the problem. After identifying the actual problems, we should proceed to discover the process of solution based on the current situation.
In the past, it was revealed that the movement of trade unions is relatively weak in nature. At the same time, many workers are not yet joined the union for various reasons. All the workers should be the member of the existing trade union to keep their interests. Besides, the other feature of the situation is the political affiliations of most of the unions. It is a common feature nowadays. For this reason, there is intense rivalry between the unions. In this event, the worst enemy of some union is not the the employer or the management but the other unions. A rival union may be trying its best to secure a foot-hold in the organisation. It continuously tries to obtain support of the workers by resorting to any means and ways. To win the event it may spread various negative rumours about the rival unions. They also try to convince the other workers by alluring them through various ways. Physical violence may happen in various situations. It may also threat to workers sometimes. Emerging from this situation, the atmosphere of the organisation is becoming spoilt day-by-day.
The workers may think to have doubts about it's own officials. Union officials are not willing to cooperate with the management in this situation. Mistrust, doubt and rigorous notion towards each other brings violence and turbulent situation as a whole. Anti-management attitude are grown among the workers and the situation becomes deteriorating within organisation. Loyalty and attention to work is reduced. Considering the situation, then the management may reciprocate to eliminate the fierce situation with a view to arresting violence of any kind.
In such an atmosphere, the management may pose as an innocent by-stander. It seems to the rival unions that you fight out your battles and we would deal with the winner whoever it may be. They would like others to believe that they are disinterested onlookers who are helpless to stop this show of violence. This is not strictly true. In this event, management can take side that is proved in many instances. Actually management supports its favourite union i.e. the union which is controllable by the management. So, the notion of management is not neutral after all.
It showed that actually the workers are ultimately losers in this battle. But the workers do not seem to realise this deeply. May be the workers may far too near- sighted and do not comprehend how they are the losers in the future. In real sense, in any class conflict, the followers are the worst sufferers. But the workers never realised this as per study of history. In such enquiry, the workers also display a peculiar attitude. They seem to prefer a union which is overtly ante- management. The unions those are working for keeping the interest of the management are actually, affecting their own interest. Once upon a time, the members of such union did not support their activities so that the solidarity among the members and unions are happening to a greater extent.. Thus it may create a uncontrollable situation in the organisation. Even the unions are not prepared to cooperate with the management even when the issue can be helpful to the workers. And the rival unions may compete among themselves in taking ante-management stances.
And what is the role of the government about it? The government can strive to bring the two rival unions together and help them arrive at some kind of compromise that can put a stop to such episodes. But this attempt may not be successful at all the times. One of the hurdles seems to be the basis for recognition ----membership register or secret ballot. There are two streams in their believes that may create an issue and finally it may reach to a stalemate over the issue.
In this situation, what measures should be taken for settling the problem? Where to start for solution? To identify the ways and means, we should agree that there should be one union in one organisation. When this union becomes the sole bargaining agent, it will have to assume certain responsibilities. On the other hand, they can also bargain with this union and try to arrive at a decision. In short, both the rival groups will have to accept some more responsibility and both can also derive some benefits-for the workers such as better salary, favourable working conditions, welfare amenities and for the management side, it is peaceful environment, prosperity, goodwill and more productivity as a whole.
In deciding the major supporting union it is better to select the system of secret ballot. Provision of free election after two or three years may be effective and the workers should be free to decide for themselves as to which union they would like to have. We can also introduce the system of election in the industries also.
In many cases, this system would be very effective to find out the bargaining agent. Workers should be encourages to pay regular subscription to the majority union. So the workers pay something for their protection and virtually the union would be strengthened and can be empowered to this end.
In this decision, some members may raise an objection-what are our fundamental rights to be a member? Actually, without a membership, one cannot raise his/her demands collectively before the management. The membership system is for the benefit of the workers and therefore a compulsion is justified. Actually, how much workers know this? In real sense, a very few workers would like to feel about it. As this assures that many of the workers do not know what is good for themselves, therefore on occasion we must force them to take membership and to pay subscription. The majority union isn the organisation is for the protection of all the workers and therefore, they must pay for their own protection.
As the workers become aware of their own situation they would force the union to behave properly. The majority union will have to behave properly by striving for the well-being of the members and the knowledgeable workers can force their union to do so.
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