GrievanceDale Yoder, defines it as “a written complaint, written by an employee andclaming unfair treatment.”Keith Davis, defines it as “any real or imagined feeling of personal injusticewhich an employee has concerning his employment relationship”.According to Jucius, “A grievance is any discontent or dissatisfaction,whether expressed or not, whether valid or not, arising out of anythingconnected with the company which an employee thinks believes or evenfeels to be unfair, unjust or inequitable.Pigors or Myers observe that the three terms – dissatisfaction, compliantand grievance – indicate clearly the nature of dissatisfaction. According tothem, dissatisfaction is anything that disturbs and employee, whether heexpresses it in words or not.A complaint is a spoken or written dissatisfaction, which is brought to thenotice of the management or trade union representatives. A grievance, on theother hand, is simply a complaint which has been ignored, over-ridden or, inthe employee’s opinion, dismissed without consideration; and the employeesfeel that an injustice has been done, particularly when the complaint waspresented in written to a management representative or to a trade unionofficial.Beach has defined a grievance as, “anything which an employee thinks orfeel is wrong, and is generally accompanied by an actively disturbedfeeling.”Flippo says: - “ It (the grievance) is usually more formal in character than acomplaint. It can be valid or ridiculous, and must grow out of somethingconnected with company operations or policy. It must involve aninterpretation or application of the provisions of the labour contract.”The international labour organisation defines a grievance as “a complaint ofone or more workers in respect of wages, allowances, conditions of workand interpretation of service stipulations, covering such areas as overtime,leave, transfer, promotion, seniority, job assignment and termination ofservice”. In the opinion of the National Commission on Labour, “complaintaffecting one or more individual workers in respect of wage payments,overtime, leave, transfer, promotion, seniority, work assignment anddischarges constitute grievances.”
On an analysis of these various definitions, it may be noted that: 1. Grievance is a word which covers dissatisfaction and which has one or more of the following characteristics: •It may be unvoiced or expressly stated by an employee; •It may be written or verbal; •It may be valid and legitimate, untrue or completely false, or ridiculous; and •It may arise out of something connected with the organization or work2. An employee feels that an injustice has been done to himIn the other words, grievances are feeling, sometimes real, sometimesimagined, which an employee may have in regard to his employmentsituation. Causes or Sources of Grievances An employee is dissatisfied and harbours a grievance when he feels thatthere has been an infringement of his rights, that his interests have beenjeopardised. This sense of grievance generally arises out of misinterpretationor misapplication of company policies and practices.Calhoon observes: “Grievances exist in the mind of individuals, areproduced and dissipated by situations, are fostered or healed by grouppressures, are adjusted or made worse by supervisors, and are nourished ordissolved by the climate in the organization which is affected by all theabove factors and by the management.”Bethel and others have given typical examples of workers grievances. Theseare:( i ) Concerning wages• Demand for individual adjustment; the worker feels that he is underpaid;• Complaints above incentives; piece rate are too low or too complicated;• Mistakes in calculating the wages of a worker;( ii ) Concerning Supervision
• Complaints against discipline; the foreman picks on him; inadequateinstructions given for job performance;• Objection to having a particular foreman; the foreman playing favorite;the foreman ignores complaints;• Objection to the manner in which the general methods of supervision areused: there are too many rules; regulation are not clearly posted; supervisorindulge in a great deal of snooping.( iii ) Concerning Individual Advancement• Complaint that the employee’s record of continuous service has beenunfairly broken;• Complaint that the claims of senior person have been ignored; thatseriously has been wrongly determined; that younger workers have beenpromoted ahead of older and more experiences employees;• Charges are made that disciplinary discharge or lay-off has been unfair;that the penalty is too severe for the offence that is supposed to have beencommitted that the company wanted to get rid of the employee; hence thecharges against him.( iv ) General Working Conditions • Complaint about toilet facilities been adequate; about inadequate and/ or dirty lunch rooms; • Complaint about working conditions; dampness, noise, fumes and other unpleasant or unsafe conditions, which can be easily corrected; overtime is unnecessary; an employee loses too much time because materials are not supplied to him in time.( v ) Collective Bargaining • The company is attempting to undermine the trade union and the workers who belong to that union; the contract with labor has been violated; the company does not deal effectively or expeditiously with union grievances; • The company does not allow the supervisors to deal with, and settle the grievances of the employees; • The companies disregards precedents and agreements already arrived at with the workers and/or their trade union.
In a study undertaken by S. Chandra, The following causes have been givenof employee grievances;(i) Promotions; (ii) Amenities; (iii) Continuity of services; (iv)Compensation; (v) Disciplinary action; (vi) fines; (vii) Increments; (viii)Leave; (ix) Medical Benefits; (x) Nature Iof the job; (xi) Payments ofwages; (xii) Acting promotion; (xiii) Recovery of dues; (xiv) Safetyappliance; (xv) Superannuation; (xiv) Super Session; (xvii) Transfer; (xviii)Victimization; and (xix) Conditions of works.Two American experts are of the view that there are three main factorswhich contribute to the grievances of the employees – management policiesand practices, trade union practices and personality traitsIt should be noted here that there is no single factor which causes agrievance; many factors combine to generate a grievance; and bothemployers and employee have grievances – the one against the other. To sum up, employees grievance may be due to (causes) 1. Demands for individual wage adjustments; 2. Complaints about the incentive system; 3. Complaint about the job classifications; 4. Complaint about the particular foreman; 5. Complaints concerning disciplinary measures and procedures; 6. Objections to the general method of supervision; 7. Loose calculation and interpretation of seniority rules, and unsatisfactory interpretation of agreements; 8. Promotions; 9. Disciplinary discharge or lay-off; 10.Transfer for another department or another shift; 11.Inadequacy of safety and health services/devices; 12.Non-availability of material in time; 13.Violation of contracts relating to collective bargaining; 14.Improper job assignment; and 15.Undesirable or unsatisfactory conditions of work.The management, too, have grievances against it employees. These concern: 1. Indiscipline; 2. Go slow tactics; 3. Non-fulfillment of the terms of the contract signed between the management and the workers of their trade union; 4. Failure of the trade union to live up to its promises to its management;
5. Questionable methods adopted by trade unions to enlist members; 6. Trade union rules which conflict with the terms of contract arrived at between a trade union and the management; 7. Irresponsible charges made against the management by trade union leaders in the forms of statements to the press, or leaflets, or public speeches.It should be noted that some grievances are more serious than others sincethey are usually more difficult to settle. Discipline cases and seniorityproblems (including promotions, transfers and lay-offs) would top this test.Others would include grievances owing out of the job evaluation and workassignments, overtime, vacations, incentive plans and holidays.A grievance is often just a symptom of an underlying problem. One authorsobserves:“An employee’s concern for his job security may prompt a grievance over atransfer, work assignment, or promotion. Sometimes bad relations betweensupervisors and co-ordinates are to blame: this is often the cause ofgrievances over ‘fair treatment’. Organizational factors like automate jobs orambiguous job descriptions that frustrate the aggravate employees are otherpotential causes of grievances. Union activism is other cause, for example,the union may solicit grievances from workers to underscore effectivesupervision. Problem employees are yet another cause of grievances. Theseincludes, who, by their nature, are negative, dissatisfied, and grievanceprone.” NEED FOR A GRIEVANCE PROCEDUREThe grievance procedure is a problem solving, dispute-setting machinerywhich has been set up following an agreement to that effect or an employeemakes and processes his claim that there has been a violation of the laboragreement by the company.The grievance redressal procedure is a device by which grievances aresettled generally to the satisfaction of the trade union or employees and themanagement . This procedure is an important part of labour relations. It isessential, whether a plant is an organized one or not. The grievancemachinery enables a management to detect any effects or flaws in theworking conditions or in labour relations, and undertake suitable corrective
measures. If good morale and a code of discipline are to be maintained, it isessential that the grievance procedure is worked honestly and withoutprejudice, failing which there is likely to be an explosion, and productionschedule would be shattered and the morale of the employees would beirretrievably impaired. According to Mangrulkar, the grievance, procedure isessential because it brings uniformity in the handling of grievances.” It givesconfidence to the worker, for if he does not get a fair deal, he knows what todo and whom to approach to ensure that he does get justice. It also gives himconfidence that “his complaint will be investigated and a decision given in areasonable period of time.”The adoption of the grievance handling procedure is essential for a variety ofreasons. For example: (IMPORTANCE OF GRIEVANCE REDRESSAL) 1. Most grievances seriously disturbs the employees. This may affect their morale, productivity and their willingness to co-operative with the organization. If an explosive situation develops, this can be promptly attended to if a grievance handling procedure is already in existence. 2. It is not possible that all the complaint of the employees would be settled by first line supervisor, for these supervisors may not have had a proper training for the purpose, and they may lack authority. Moreover, there may be personality conflict and other causes as well. 3. It serves as a check on the arbitrary action of the management because supervisors know that employees are likely to see to it that their protest does reach the higher management. 4. It serves as an outlet for employee gripes, discontent and frustrations. It acts like a pressure valve on a steam boiler. The employees are entitled to legislative, executive and judicial protection and they get this protection from the grievance redressal procedure, which also acts as a means of upward communications. The top management becomes increasingly aware of employee problems, expectations and frustration. It becomes sensitive to their needs, and cares their well being. This is why the management, while formulating plans that might affect the employees – for example, plant expansion or modification the installation of labour saving devices and so on, should take into consideration the impact that such plans might have on the employees. 5. The management has complete authority to operate the business as it sees first-subject, of course, to its legal and moral obligation and the
contracts it has entered into with its workers or their or their representative trade unions. But if the trade union or the employees do not like the way the management functions, they can submit their grievances in accordance with the procedure laid down far that purpose.A well designed and a proper grievance procedure provides. 1. A channel or avenue by which any 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 conditions or with the management andA means of ensuring that there is some measure of promptness in thehandling of the grievances.