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Analyse the literature on conflict in the UK Labour Market and its effects

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Labour markets experience serious conflicts, and their effects have dire consequences on the economy. Policy failure leads to either disagreement of prolonged durations of finding solutions. A critical system failure is the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS). The failure of such government-empowered policies discourages the development of industrial relations. The incoming report will be investigating conflicts in the UK labour market and its effects. The research is mentored frames of the reference management style courtesy of unitarism and pluralism theory. That is, the impact of external examines what is likely to influence a given management style. As well, the research will be proving that the complexity of the law and in particular policies, primarily leads to the development of conflicts. The report will, therefore, demonstrate that it is possible to reduce such industrial conflicts if the appropriate deliberations are made.

The Literature Surveyed

           A common approach to understanding labour management stratagem is one that encourages a broader management style. Distinctively, identified three main with simple unitarism and pluralist contrast, these frames of reference for not distinguish between firms and the significant number of employees. In fact, the distinctive style of management has with it, proper management principles which are written or differently guiding principles. The incoming section will be proving that conflicts in the labour market have switched from policy and laws in regulation. Systems, in particular can be considered passive in light, which has led to massive under-unemployment, temporary and long-term unemployment.

Based on that, the most highly publicized reforms with be in the labour market where industrial conflicts were often caused by legislative intentions to curb union powers. For the above reason, the unitarism and pluralism will guide the development of a pure management style. There is no doubt that in the late 1980s, and early 1990s, unions were coerced to have less power to influence labour market outcomes than they had in previous decades. The review will also establish that even though several other reforms encouraged democratic activities in the UK private sector, for instance, pension financing and education, the overall compensation in the UK labour experienced a significant setback.

Industrial Conflicts

           Industrial conflicts are disputes arising between workers and employees. Conflicts are a strong disagreement, which might lead to quarrelling. A conflict is an expression of disagreement. When it acquires specific dimension, it becomes an industrial disputes. Industrial conflicts are open to manifestation of the feeling of dissatisfaction of employees and workers. In most cases, conflicts develop due to perceptual differences to an individual. In the industrial fields, employers and employees are important parties, which are responsible for carrying on production.

ACAS guidelines

           To begin with, the available ACAS guidelines do not meet the direct needs of the labour market. Saundry and Wimberly (2012) analyze these guidelines as follows. The affected employees; invite them to a final meeting, hence inviting them to their dismissal thus offering them an appeal against their dismissal on grounds of redundancy. Even though redundancy or restructuring is part of the everyday working environment, it is necessary to inform employees’ months before the restructuring process can start. That way, employees will have sufficient time to allocate to a new working destination.

Conflicts attributed to poor macroeconomic performance

           Significantly, policy failure in the UK labour market is attributed to the failure in the macroeconomic performance. Podro (2012, 3) believes that increased productivity, especially in unionized firms encouraged the adoption of large-scale employee share ownership, which improved the influx of foreign capital. By the end of the last century, restrictions on employment were lifted leading to an almost entirely product regulation. In particular, the macroeconomic performance of the British economy changed drastically, hence significantly influencing the labour market. However, as the research will be unveiling, trade unions are properly management using frames of references management style.

During the 1990s, the UK economy was characterized by frequent fluctuations. For that reason, a typical scenario was the demand for the expansion of output gains, which followed the union pressures for more wages. On the other hand, employers would concede to pass on the higher wages to prevailing prices in the market. In that, employers argued, in order to better labour compensation, it was necessary to adjust prices upwards. However, given the restrictive macroeconomic policy, it was notable that these prices could not have been adjusted.

Conflicts resulted by Ministry of labour failures

           Additionally, the review has further identified internal organizational problems to have casualty effect on the quality of labour. Primarily, this was caused by the failure on the advisory part of the ACAS whose legislative proposal failed. Arguably, the conciliation service of the Ministry of Labour wanted to implement a desirable income policy. Saundry (2014, p. 42) believes that ACAS was failing due to incapacitation problems, which led to the failure of the governing council. The board of governors was composed of independent experts and nominees of the CBI, who were protected from a ministerial direction. However, despite its professionalization, the department continued to fail since the number of cases was far beyond its possible handling capacity.

As illustrated, not only did ACAS would come to occupy a central position in the British collective bargaining, but also did the department attempt to come and settle disputes, which prevailed in most organizations. Holland et al., (2009, p. 1031) believe that over time the number of cases plummeted, with the department being forced to handle over 2800 cases annually. Such cases will naturally plummet since the type of management style does not confirm to given industrial relations. Additionally, even though the staff managed to earn significant attention from governments, not much was done in light with the expected quality levels. For instance, the institutional structure established from 1974-79 government looks durable in the overall package of legislation from the visionary concept. The Labour Relation Act failed considerably since it was inevitably distorted.

Reflectively, any assessment of the legislation must take account of the fact the effectiveness of the law in enforcing symbolic signalling of given public standards. Krolzig and Marcellino (2001, p. 44) contend that the fact that minimum entitlements that were not fully observed as ineffective, a conflict would develop since there was no proper regulation. The government of Cameron has continuously indicated that collective bargaining enacted by the legislation has strong demonstrative effects upon the style adoption by employees who would attempt to use a more complicated law.


           Another significant problem, that causes UK labour conflict, is the penalties associated with the poor consultations. Tuckman and Snook (2014, p. 78) believe that getting the collective consultation was wrong and resulted in claims of the protective award in the value of the 90 days pay per employee. For instance, claims for unfair dismissal in light with any aspect of the redundancy process could also be brought if there were no fault in the process. As a result, employees usually with one need for one year stay in the organization often make such a claim would not get the most desirable compensation. Directly, handling a statutory maximum compensation award was often untreated with unfair terms. Hence, there was a subsequent potential liability for a basic award. Arguably, the management style does encourage the development of penalties. Since penalties could not be initialized since failure to follow the prevailing ACAS guidelines would allow an Employment Tribunal to increase a compensatory award as much as 25% hence making the dismissal unfair.

Redundancy of Labour

           Labour redundancy has been a serious problem affecting the quality of industrial relation in UK. With time, the redundancy process was subject to a comprehensive guide with an individual guide of circumstance that varied. The comprehensive guide and individual circumstance varied and did not provide the relevant substitute, in terms of legal advice that was sought regarding personal circumstances. Conflict regularly arose when union were affected by poor planning as well as, failure of the redundancy policy and decline of the collective consultation. In particular, planning for labour was because of the failure of the option to reason for the proposed redundancies.

Likewise, the failure of an instituted redundancy policy was based on the incompatibility with a reliable statutory procedure which followed different policies. Therefore, if there was no plan in place, then Statutory Dispute Resolution mechanism could not follow the appropriate steps, which were to be taken. Moreover, conflict naturally occurred if the collective consultation process was not dated correctly. The establishment of a 90-day period required entering the process of collective consultation with appropriate representatives. Conflict generally arises since some organizations do not want to carry out a consultative process. In any case, collective consultation should start as redundancies are established, and a letter written to the employee representative. The representative is therefore, obliged to plan stage of the selection process to reduce the risk of claims being presented.

Management failure of individual Consultation

           In accordance with ACAS guidelines, most firms always create conflicts if employees are not invited to a meeting in writing. That is, ACAS guidelines do not meet frames of reference expectations at the consultation. Hence, informing them of the potential redundancy of the situation. In any case, employees are entitled to attend the negotiation without being coerced. Saundry and Wimberly (2012, p. 14) argue that trade union, and a representative of their choice, should inform each employee about the reasons for the redundancy, as well as, the selection process that should take place. However, conflict in the UK labour market arises since most firms do not prepare employees to a collective redundancy and ask them to consider whether they are in the correct pool for selection. In particular, the unions fail to collectively deliberate on a proper management style, one that is incoherence with frames of reference management style. The employer should organize a second meeting where they discuss the selection criteria and any alternatives to redundancy of what the employee might have. However, most firms’ writes dismissal letters without providing proper explanations. In extreme cases, some employers often use witch-hunting tendencies to blackmail employees.

Bullying at the workplace

           Another significant problem that amounts to conflicts is that policies in place to mitigate bullying are not properly pursued. Bullying forms include sexual harassment, ethnicity, coercion, overworking, and abusive language or even fighting and other forms of brutality. Bullying could affect job performance and lead to health problems. Due to the failure of ACAS to handle most cases at go, some bullying incidences happen at the workplace. Arguably, bullying is in play since the unions do not initiate a proper management style, in line with the frames of reference expectations. Most cases occur since previous cases were not satisfactorily treated, or even took a longer time to handle such cases. Even though ACAS is clear that there should be no discrimination against staff suffering from health caused by bullying, some cases go an attended.

The article by CIPD (2011, p. 6) analyzes satisfaction and dissatisfaction levels attributed to the increased failure of investigations. While investigating such cases, conflict naturally arises when the investigator in charge does not institute the appropriate administrative tasks. Importantly, the administrator should write to the complainant, the alleged harasser, and witnesses, summoning them to respond to the case. As such, a conflict might naturally arise if the administrator does not maintain control over the process while the employee is not in a position to make relevant information, hence failure to arrange accommodation and backup of the case (Brown, 2009, p. 45). Thus, it is arguable that conflict naturally arises due to failure of a proper management style.

Decisions are inclined to who must receive the investigation report on whether or not the recommendations are to be included. ACAS policy state, that there should be procedures, which the investigation should be follow, in order to establish the validity of the conflict. In fact, both the investigator and the employer must be clear and in agreement about their expectations and respective roles. Jones (2012) advises the adoption of an external investigator, since an external investigator is responsible for conducting an investigation, including the content of the report. If an external/ neutral investigators is invited, the conditions he or she will set in order to support a fair inquiry might be can be realized.

However, although the investigator has to interview the complainant and any witnesses named by the claimant, the process is often repeated making it time consuming, tedious and boring to all parties. Hence, that case remains unresolved. Conflict naturally arises if some party does not feel satisfied with the process. In any case, the investigator needs open-minded, flexibility and proactive methods of investigation and other interviews. Besides, in the conflict process, conflict will arise if there are no proper open-minded questions and the methods of investigations are not appropriate. Investigation might not be appropriate if flaws characterize the pieces of evidence presented.

The Government being the largest employer

           As demonstrated by the above argument, a significant problem with the UK labour market is that the government is the largest employer; hence passing laws against employers was always an uphill task to the executive. The government has been the chief employer, in the public sector, local governments, steel industry, coal and health amongst others. The role of the government is to provide industrial peace. Government develops the legislation, that way; the government provides machinery for the prevention for settlement of industrial disputes. In fact, the government checks the working of trade unions and employers association and intervenes. Additionally, government plays a significant role in maintaining the smooth relation and hence, promoting the industrial development. The objectives of industrial relation include the prevention of industrial disputes, promotion of industrial peace by controlling industrial conflicts.

Government also encourages mutual understanding between employers and employees as well as, enhancing industrial democracy and promoting worker’s participation in management. The government also raises quality of industrial productivity by ensuring that workers are committed to the employment process. In addition, the government is expected to minimize labour turnover by ensuring that absenteeism does not exist. As well, the government is mandated to control industries to ensure that healthy relationships are enhanced as well as, promote industrial production and increase the level of employment and thereby promote economic development.

Now the government being the largest employer fails to meet these obligations since it is engaged in such conflicts. The government encourages conflicts by expanding effective communication, equity and un-biases all employees of the organization working at the same level should be treated equally (William, 2014, p. 39). In addition to that, the government has often been accused of providing unreasonable remuneration to workers. Thus, private firms often adjust their wage compensation in line with that of the government. Lower compensation rates are still a significant that causes conflicts. Besides, being the largest employers, most of internal problems that leads to conflicts are often not properly attended to.

Effects of these conflicts

           Even though multiple industrial conflicts have enhanced the interplay of industrial democracy, a number of structural arrangements with each engaging a brief inspection of the importance of industrial democracy still prevail. However, as illustrated by the just concluded review, there are multiple challenges that industrial conflicts create to the general tranquillity of doing business. As noted, problems are both internal and external in nature. That is; the authority structure of the enterprise naturally generate different quasi-group of management and labour along with the latent interests; from the recruited interest groups of employer’s association and trade unions. In addition to that, it would be interesting to investigate the quasi-group of labour into their organization and the actualized interests permanently where employer association are tight cartels of a few representatives.

Likewise, the soared relationship between employers and employees and union and industrial bureaucrats particularly and their union-type organizations, leads to the development of strikes, boycotts, seat downs and eventual termination of the company operative activities. Such effects not only do they have impact on the enterprise microeconomic environment, but as well as, the country’s macroeconomic environment (Wanrooy, 2013). If UK’s macroeconomic environment is affected, then dire consequences are directed to other sectors such as mining and manufacturing, or even tourism. Besides, if such conflicts mature, the affected sectors might seize from operation hence affecting a much fragile financial sector (Rose, 2008).


           As illustrated, the virtue unitarism and pluralism are not properly enhanced since there is an improper management style. It is clear from the literature above that the conflicts in UK labour do have significant consequences for the affected company microeconomic and macroeconomic environments. The review has examined the various conflicts, which discourage a company operative nature. As illustrated, most conflicts have amounted to the failure of the ACAS as a dispute resolution body. In particular, failure of ACAS has encouraged the development of the conflicts where such incidences results to increased scale of the conflicts. Since ACAS failure has led in the occurrence of these conflicts, it is advisable to examine the eligibility of the department in settling industrial conflicts. In future, it is desirable to defragment ACAS into two departments one that handles externally driven conflicts and one that handles internally driven conflicts.


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Saundry, R. et al, (2014) ‘Reframing Resolution – Managing Conflict and Resolving Individual Employment Disputes in the Contemporary Workplace’, ACAS Policy Discussion Paper, March 2014, [Online] Available at: http://www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/6/9/reframing_policy_paper_FINAL.pdf

Saundry, R., Wimberly, G. (2012) ‘Managing Individual Conflict in the private Sector: A Case Study’, Ref: 05/12, [Online] Available: http://www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/6/b/0512_Managing_individual_conflict_in_the_private_sector-accessible-version-Mar-12.pdf

Tuckman, A., & Snook, J. (2014). Between consultation and collective bargaining? The changing role of non-union employee representatives: A case study from the finance sector. Industrial Relations Journal, 77-97.

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