Ewen McConchie - CoSolve Pty Ltd - Manufacturing in crisis and workplace bullying - A Unions perspective
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Ewen McConchie - CoSolve Pty Ltd - Manufacturing in crisis and workplace bullying - A Unions perspective



Ewen McConchie delivered the presentation at 2014 Workplace Bullying Conference. ...

Ewen McConchie delivered the presentation at 2014 Workplace Bullying Conference.

The Workplace Bullying Conference 2014 focused on the effects of the legislative changes to date and on implementing practical policies and programs for bullying prevention.

For more information about the event, please visit: http://www.informa.com.au/workplacebullyingevent14



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Ewen McConchie - CoSolve Pty Ltd - Manufacturing in crisis and workplace bullying - A Unions perspective Presentation Transcript

  • 1. www.CoSolve.com.au CoSolve Pty Ltd www.cosolve.com.au Manufacturing in crisis and workplace bullying - a unions perspective Ewen McConchie
  • 2. www.CoSolve.com.au Amalgamated Manufacturing Workers’ Union of Australia – Printing Division • The AMWU (Printing Division) is one of the oldest unions in Australia • The union has members across the media, publishing packaging industry • Katrina Ford – National Industrial Officer 2
  • 3. www.CoSolve.com.au About CoSolve • CoSolve acts as an independent adviser and coach • We facilitate organisational improvement, and issues resolution through productive employee and union involvement in constructive bargaining. • We work on the joint brief of the key stakeholders. 3
  • 4. www.CoSolve.com.au Manufacturing in crisis and workplace bullying - a unions perspective “When manufacturing in Australia is in crisis and workplace culture is driven by cost cuttings and profit margins, we have seen workplace bullying escalate. In this environment workplace bullies often operate within the established culture, practices and policies of their organization which makes it very hard to contend with. This presentation will outline how a progressive and effective Union with these difficult workplace issues.”
  • 5. www.CoSolve.com.au Overview • The impact of the “manufacturing crisis” in Australian workplaces • What is happening out there? • The AMWU Printing Division approach • The AMWU/Orora collaboration – a new approach • Risks and Rewards 5
  • 6. www.CoSolve.com.au THE IMPACT OF THE “MANUFACTURING CRISIS” IN AUSTRALIAN WORKPLACES What is happening out there? 6
  • 7. www.CoSolve.com.au The “Manufacturing Crisis” Exchange rates 7
  • 8. www.CoSolve.com.au Manufacturing industry response Nice stuff • Better understanding of customers and supply chain • Increased ability to monitor and control production processes • Improved planning and forecasting • Clarity about required performance, quality & waste Not Nice Stuff • Relentless demands to improve • Increased surveillance of work • Increasingly directive behaviour • Compliance mantra • Coercive pressure • Interpersonal conflict & competition 8
  • 9. www.CoSolve.com.au Bullying in the Workplace • Supervisor to worker • Coercive behaviours • Disrespectful (discriminating) behaviours • Favouritism and exclusion • Worker to worker • Interpersonal competition • Manipulation of workflows & content • Physical and psychological intimidation • Manager to Supervisor • Arbitrary (sometimes unrealistic) goals • Punitive working hours • “Reach through” decision-making • Overruling or changing decisions and commitments by supervisors 9
  • 10. www.CoSolve.com.au The “Blaming” culture - workers • Do what you are told to do • Do it now and do not question • Do it faster • Do it for the same or less than you used to do it for • Be a better employee than your fellow workers • Insecurity • Fear • Rivalry • Divided and controlled • Be innovative, happy, loyal and grateful 10
  • 11. www.CoSolve.com.au Why Unions? • To promote the interests of employees • To help balance the power between employees and the employers Unions address the failures of the “free market” and weaknesses in human behaviour.
  • 12. www.CoSolve.com.au Why Unions? “The struggle for dignity – justice, fairness, respect and equity • Secure, safe, quality work. • A real say through collective organisation. • Transparent and objective systems of work organisation and reward. • A career path and training to support it. • Quality of life for working people and our members in particular.” Extract from: “AMWU – OUR UNION VALUES”
  • 13. www.CoSolve.com.au Can an industry survive with this combative workplace environment? • You need to outperform your local competition first • Be the survivor who gets the market share, etc. • You need to focus upon what you can influence • Quality • Waste • Cost efficiency • Supply chain advantages – closeness to customers • You need to collaborate wherever you can • Customers • Workers (and their Union!) 13
  • 14. www.CoSolve.com.au THE COLLABORATION BETWEEN ORORA PTY LTD & AMWU (PRINTING DIVISION) Orora was formerly known as Amcor Fibre Packaging 14
  • 15. www.CoSolve.com.au Results Matter In late 2012 • Weekly disputes in Fair Work Commission • Numerous complaints of workplace bullying (many resulting in FWC intervention) • A shrinking business making significant losses • Over 1000 employees jobs at imminent risk By mid-2014 • No disputes or bullying complaints to FWC in over 12 months • 25% reduction in costs, improved quality and reduced waste • A growing business on track to reporting maiden profit 15
  • 16. www.CoSolve.com.au How did it happen? 1. Amcor called in McKinsey & Co. to look at Fibre Packaging 2. McKinsey’s identified a need for 25% cost reduction for it to be a sustainable business 3. Given the history of failed change it seriously doubted if the company could do it 4. The company leadership was faced with a major crisis • Option A: Announce downsizing and plant closures retaining only the few profitable sites and hang on to whatever customers you can • Option B: Think of something else ………. 16
  • 17. www.CoSolve.com.au Option B – Something else • Recognise long history of poor transformation • Recognise the power of the collective workforce to help or hinder change • Approach the Union and transparently share the McKinsey & Co analysis “warts and all” • Seek the union’s help to devise an alternate strategy – not the obvious “slash and burn” • Hope the union leaders are “courageous” and the workers are willing – why wouldn’t they? 17
  • 18. www.CoSolve.com.au The AMWU and Orora journey 1. Meeting of principals – to establish conceptual support 2. Get expert help – FWC, CoSolve, etc. 3. Establish a plan – staged, measurable results, risk managed 4. Formalise how the collaboration is expected to work (protocols) 5. Get the wider organisation and union members’ support 6. Resource the change 7. Do a pilot on a challenging (but not basket case) site 8. Continue to other sites as soon as pilot is seen to be working (momentum) 9. Monitor and communicate success and benefits 18
  • 19. www.CoSolve.com.au “Redecorate” the organisation • Form new forums for collaborative consultation (able to step away from past habits and norms) • Permit existing forum to continue (but demonstrate the relative success of the new versus the old) • Have some simple “new tools” to approach issues (e.g. interest-based problem solving) 19
  • 20. Settlement Ideas & Options Criteria Problem Traditional Problem Solving Contest Determined by power, rights Arrived at by problem-solving consultation Interests Interests Position Position 20Alternative approaches Issue Implementation Implementation Solution
  • 21. www.CoSolve.com.au Do some ‘hard thing’ • Demonstrate commitment to supporting the “new way” • Transparent and strategic downsizing • Changing leaders who will not support the new way • Understand the new way is “grey” not “black & white” • But “old ways” are absolutely unacceptable • Challenge bullying, division and coercion at every opportunity • Guard against over-confidence that fundamental change has been achieved • Compliance is not commitment • Tangible results build support and secure ongoing commitment 21
  • 22. www.CoSolve.com.au “old ways” are absolutely unacceptable • Bullying people to accept change • “management prerogative” replaced by mutual understanding of the role and expectation of managers • “divide and conquer” replaced by transparency, engagement and collective support • “directives” only if better than appropriate and efficient collaboration • ANY coercive actions are challenged and questioned (must be justified) • Major effort to educate and encourage reporting Company provided training (supported by AMWU) AMWU education of delegates – delegate training, codes of conduct, union values. Specific joint Orora/AMWU training to build understanding and tools to build relationships at every level. Newsletters and policies from the AMWU 22
  • 23. www.CoSolve.com.au “Optimal” “Dysfunctional” Power Rights Interests Power Rights Interests Ref: Fisher & Ury: Getting to Yes
  • 24. www.CoSolve.com.au Why do people resist “collaboration”? • A history of slow collaborative decisions • Little extra thinking added by wider discussion (apathy, laziness) • Perceived dishonesty and game playing (self interest, politics) • Poor representation (poor listening skills, etc.) • Disengaged and coercive culture
  • 25. www.CoSolve.com.au Summary of AMWU/Orora Collaboration • It has worked so far • We are only 18 months in, but it is on target and on track • It has required very courageous leadership of both the company and the union • The accepted wisdom is that collaboration is for “wimps” • Everybody recognised the risks for the other parties and helped wherever possible • FWC has play a constructive role and provided wise counsel • Collaborative workplaces combat workplace bullying • Coercive change propagates coercive behaviours • Divisive and deceitful leaders propagate dysfunctional cultures 25