Industrial Relations and Negotiation Strategies

Assignment Description and Instructions

Read the following case study and answer the questions below.

 • These questions guide the response which will be submitted as a paper with subheadings. • You are expected to research and refer and integrate to at least three industrial cases in preparing your response. Clearly identify each case by name, case number, date and place. Selected cases must align with the problem

• Your response should be no more than 3,500 words.


At 2:30 p.m. on July 18, 2018 the Human Resources Manager (HRM) of Maxwell’s Corporation received an urgent call from the Operations Manager (OM) of that company. The OM informed the HRM that two employees at the plant had been involved in an altercation, which had resulted in one hitting the other with a blunt instrument. He noted further that the employee who had been struck with the blunt instrument had been sent to the hospital, was treated and discharged. The OM asked the HRM to take the most appropriate action necessary in the circumstances.

The HRM instructed the OM to immediately suspend both individuals from work in the factory while she prepared for a hearing on the matter. Following the usual custom and practice in such matters she called the Union Shop Steward and arranged a meeting immediately after lunch at 2:00 p.m.. that same day, with that individual, the two combatants, their immediate supervisor and other persons who had witnessed the incident.

The HRM met that afternoon with the OM, the supervisor of the two combatants, the Shop Steward, two union delegates and the two combatants. After questioning all the parties involved in or witnessing the debacle, the management decision was to dismiss the employee who had struck the other with the blunt instrument, and to suspend the other employee for one week. The Union delegates objected to the dismissal of the employee who had used the weapon, saying that dismissal was too harsh a punishment. They pointed to the employee’s record and his years of previously unblemished service to the company. However, management countered with reference to the published rules of the organisation, which inter alia stated that resort to the use of any weapon by an employee in a confrontation was deemed to be a most serious breach of the company rules, for which the punishment was immediate dismissal.

The Union delegates referred the matter to their head office and subsequent hearings were held with the head of the Union making representation for reinstatement of the dismissed employee. His argument was that this incident was not serious enough to merit dismissal of the employee. In his words, it was just a scuffle between two employees which had gotten a little out of hand. Management on the other hand represented that the rule on fighting on the job was very clear. It was not only the fighting itself, but the use of a weapon which could have led to serious injury or even death. Such an incident therefore had to be discouraged in the strictest terms. The employees must understand that fighting on the job was a serious breach of the disciplinary code of conduct in the company and furthermore, resort to a weapon of any kind could not be tolerated. After several meetings, the parties could not reach an acceptable resolution on the matter. Without a settlement soon, the Union is likely to call out its members on strike in support of reinstatement of the dismissed employee.

A strike at this time would be crippling for the company. It had been making steady progress as the country started to recover from a prolonged recession. Management has therefore called a meeting to seek a resolution of the impasse between the company and the union.

Consider that you are the HRM. You have been asked to prepare the way forward towards a settlement. This is likely to be a final meeting with the Union in an effort to avert strike action. However, reinstatement of the dismissed employee is not an option. In preparation for this meeting you are reviewing the several approaches in obtaining settlement of this dispute (ensure to explain/contextualise and validate key terms/concepts as you go along – APA7).

  1. What are the main issues involved?
  2. What are the main considerations brought out by the Company?
  3. What are the main considerations brought out by the Union?
  4. Is there anything missing that the parties have not included that would assist them in reaching agreement on this dispute?
  5. What kind of bargaining process has been employed so far by the parties to the dispute?
  6. Which bargaining process do you believe is more likely to succeed in the peculiar circumstances involved in this dispute?
  7. What additional information if any, would you consider useful to assist you in obtaining a resolution to this matter?
  8. What would you advise Management as the possible alternative agreement in relation to the employees?

Students include – Introduction, conclusion and reference List. Explain and integrate key terms throughout.

 Upload rubric with your response (see below). Include sub-headings and do not alter wording of subheadings.