A boycott


A boycott is a coordinated effort to avoid purchasing goods and services from a particular company or person. Boycotts are designed to apply pressure on companies, forcing them to reform their ways in a way which satisfies the people involved in the boycott. The term “boycott” references an actual person, Captain Charles Boycott, an Englishman who was responsible for managing land in Ireland in the 1800s. When his tenants pressured him to lower their rents, he refused to do so, and evicted them. In response, the tenants organized, denying him goods and services. His crops rotted in the fields because he had no farm workers, he was unable to get deliveries of food and supplies, and he found himself neatly cut off from the community. By 1880, the “Boycott Treatment” was being used in other places, and the word quickly spread to other languages and regions of the world as well. (Morton S.1997.)

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According to business dictionary, Industrial action during which an employer withholds work, and denies employees access to the place of work. In effect, it is a strike by the management to compel a settlement to a labour dispute on terms favourable to the employer. When lock out action is taken by several employers in concert, it is called a joint lockout. Also called shut out. (http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/lockout.html)

In 1913 world's biggest lockout occurs known as dublin1913. When Larkin was in power he wants to break the anti-union stance of the Dublin United Tramway Company (DUTC). It was owned by William Martin Murphy - a conservative nationalist and ex-MP, who was also proprietor of the city's biggest newspaper, largest department store and hotel, and had founded the Dublin Employers' Federation in 1912.Murphy demanded that all DUTC employees forswear membership of the ITGWU or be dismissed. Larkin struck back by calling the tramway-employees in his union out on 26 August 1913. The company responded by locking them out, at which point Larkin orchestrated a wave of ‘sympathetic strikes', affecting other parts of Murphy's empire as well as those businesses supporting him. After discussion, the employer's federation then agreed to support the DUTC by locking out all employees who belonged to Larkin's union and attempting to replace them with strike-breakers. By September, the dispute involved 20,000 employees across the city along with their 80,000 dependants. January 1914, it was evident that the workers had lost the dispute. Mostly unskilled and lacking the resources for a prolonged campaign, they had begun to drift back to work on the employers' terms.

(War and Conflict 1916 Easter Rising, report on BBC history)


Wage Demands

The wage and salaries is often the major cause of disputes between an employee and employer. It also refers to a demand by employees for an increase in their wage rate or changes to the way in which their wages are calculated or determined. As well, wage demands may relate to pay rates may need to be adjusted to compensate employees in times of inflationary pressures such as GST and interest rates. Employees are more likely to seek wage increases to maintain their standards of living.

Working Conditions

Disputes often happen over issues of working conditions and safety at the workplace. Include disputes concerning issues such as leave entitlements, pensions, compensation, hours of work. Its Employers duty to monitor physical working conditions and provide sufficient protective clothing and equipment, first aid facilities, quality working equipment and amenities such as lunch rooms, change rooms and toilet facilities. Employees will take action if there is a risk to either their or others health and safety.

In February 2009 2,200 judges in Spain staged a 24-hour strike to demand better working conditions and more staff in the judicial system, local media reported. About 62 percent of the 4,000 judges in the country joined the strike. The strikers demanded recruitment of at least 250 new judges each year in the next fives, to bring the number of judges in the country up to the European average. They also want a more efficient working environment with the use of computers in courts, and an ease in their workload. In response, the government said it was making efforts to improve conditions and the judges had no right to strike. Minister of Justice Mariano Fernandez Bermejo said a strike was not the answer to the judges' concerns. Though strikes are not the solution and not the right choice but employees often choose no matter which occupation they are.

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Management Policy

Disputes are often the result of inadequate consultation by management with their employees. Disputes over changes that management wishes to implement will often cause industrial conflict. Matters include terms and conditions of employment, new awards and agreements, award restructuring, outsourcing and technology acquisitions and structural change.
A very famous model of change in organization is Lewin's Three Step Change Model “according to Lewin, successful change can be planed and requires unfreezing the status quo, changing to a new state, and refreezing to make the change permanent”. (“Management” P Stephen and C Mary) Unfreezing - involves encouraging individuals to discard old behaviors by shaking up the equilibrium state that maintains Changing - new attitudes, values, and behaviors are substituted for old ones Refreezing - involves the establishment of new attitudes, values, and behaviors.

Most people don't like change because they don't like being changed. When change comes into view, fear and resistance to change follow they forgot the obvious benefits. Employees fight against change because they:

· Fear to losing the job.

· Don't understand the change and its implications, or

· Don't think that the change makes sense, or

· Find it difficult to cope with either the level or rapidity of the change.

Lots of conflict and strikes takes place because of change in the organisation. Fear of losing jobs is most common reason of strikes. In June 2009 British Airways 40000 Stuff went on strikes when BA boss Willie Walsh canonised 2000 job cut from 14000 flight attendants. Strikes in British Airways lost £401M last year.

(Article from guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 9 June 2009)

British Airways cabin crews are set to strikes over the Christmas holiday which is very busy season for BA. Strikes will run between December 22 and January 2 as they told. It will create millions of pound losses for BA and also create bad reputation to the customers. Cabin crew union said they had left no choice by British Airways. Cabin crew association criticised the airline for making cuts which it said would affect the quality of service to customers. (Sky New,14.12.2009)

Another example will be the royal mail employees strike for job redundancy and salary cut. Royal mail creating a big change in techonogy.they are installing automatic sorting machines which can do 50 peoples work in very short time. Profits were up by 4%, or £7m, in the six months to September 2009, when deliveries in some parts of the country were hit by unofficial strikes. The daily postbag averaged 72m, down by 3m from the previous year and 12m fewer than in 2006. Around 5,000 jobs were cut in the six-month period, bringing the total number to 60,000 since 2002, through voluntary redundancy or natural turnover. (An article by Alan Jones published on Friday, 11 December 2009 on Belfast Telegraph)


Political Goals and Social Issues

This usually refers to non-industrial issues, but rather involves wider issues directed at persons or situations rather than those relating to the employer-employee relationship. Employee unions, federations and associations will often undertake actions that are unrelated to the basic wages and conditions of their members.

Exclusion from decision making in business

Conflict can arise when employees believe that they haven't been given the opportunity to have their say for example. not inviting employees to meetings. It occurs when an employer does not involve employees in decisions that affect them. Many firms now try to develop a corporate climate in which disputes are minimised through collaborative working relationships, and by training staff in procedures, policies and guidelines for managing disputes.


Prevention of industrial disputes may have different methods. These methods “cover the entire field of relations between industry & labour & include enactment & enforcement of progressive legislation, works committees & councils, wage boards, & trade boards, profit sharing & co-partnership, education, housing, welfare work & all such measures which can bridge the gap between the employers & the employed.” The significant preventive measures may be broadly outlined as below:

Labour welfare Officer

Sec. 49 (1) & (2) of the factories act, 1948, specifies that every factory wherein 500 or more workers are ordinarily employed, at least 1 officer must be appointed, where the number of workers are in excess of 2,500, the assistance & or additional welfare officers are required to be appointed to assist the welfare officer. Those who can help to find out the conflict and possible solution in reasonable time. (R. Paul page48)

Standing orders

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Majority of the industrial disputes are related to conditions of employment.

To prevent the industrial conflict relating to employment conditions, standing orders are formulated. It was made obligatory that standing orders should govern the conditions of employment under the industrial employment (standing orders) act of 1946. The standing orders regulate the conditions of employment from the stage of entry to the stage of exit or retirement. (B. L. Gupta page97-98)

Grievance procedure

Grievances generally arise from daily work bases. Grievances of the employees are redressed by the management. Management can prevent the occurrence of industrial disputes by solving the individual problems.

Collective bargaining

As discussed earlier, collective bargaining helps for settlement of issues & prevention of industrial disputes. Government also helps trade unions & govt. to come closer to each other & come to an agreement.

Strong trade unions

Strong trade unions have the stability of membership, sound financial position & healthy polices. Such unions think & act constructively for the mutual benefit of the employees & the management. These practices naturally prevent the industrial conflicts.

Labour co - partnership & profit sharing

Labour co - partnership & profit sharing create a sense of belongness among the employees & they fill that they are the partners in the company. As such, they think & act for the benefit of the company.

Joint consultations

A Joint consultation between the employees & employer are the differences between them & prevents industrial conflicts.


The methods of the settlement of conflicts generally include those mentions in the below

1. Investigation

This is conducted by a board or court appointed by the government. It may be voluntary or compulsory. If the investigation is conducted on an application by either or both the parties to the dispute, it is voluntary. If the Government appoints a Court of Inquiry to investigate into a dispute without the consent of the parties, it is compulsory. Investigations do not aim at bringing about the settlement of disputes directly, but by analyzing the facts, they aim at bringing about an amicable solution. When the investigation is compulsory, the strikes & lock-outs are required to be stopped & employers should not make any change in the conditions of employment. The result of investigation has no serious effect on the dispute because the general public is least bothered to make note of the dispute.

2. Meditation

Another attempt to settle disputes is Meditation. In this method, an outsider assists the parties in their negotiation. It takes place with the consent of both the parties. The mediator performs the messenger's job for both the parties & he neither imposes his will nor his judgment upon them. The main aim of meditation is the settlement of disputes by brining about a voluntary agreement. There may be three kinds of meditation:

a. The Eminent Outsider;

b. Non-Government Board; &

c. Semi-Government Board.

If meditation is conducted skillful & sympathetically along proper lines, it can bring about the adjustment of differences that might otherwise contribute to stoppage of work.

3. Conciliation

The main objective of a condition & arbitration is to reunite the two conflicting groups in the industry in order to avoid interruption of production, distrust etc.

Conciliation is a process by which representatives of both workers & employers are brought together before a third party with a view to persuading them to arrive at some sort of settlement. It is an extension of collective bargaining with third party assistance. It is the practice by which the services of the neutral third party as used in a dispute as a means of helping the disputing parties to reduce the extent of their differences & to arrive at an amicable settlement or agreed solution. It is a process of rational & orderly discussions of differences between the parties to a dispute under the guidance of a conciliator.

Conciliation machinery consists of a conciliation officer & board of conciliations. The conciliator induces the parties to a course of action. He plays the role of an innovator, protector, discussion leader, stimulator, advisor, face saver. He acts as a safety value & a communication link. The task of conciliation is to offer advice & make suggestions to the dispute on controversial issues.

4. Voluntary Arbitration

If the two parties to the dispute fail to come to an agreement, either by themselves or with the help of a mediator or conciliator, who agrees to submit the dispute to an impartial authority, whose decision, they are ready to accept. The essential elements in voluntary arbitration are:

 The voluntary submission of dispute to an arbitration;

 The subsequent attendance of witness & investigations &

 The enforcement of an award may not be necessary.

5. Compulsory Arbitration / Adjudication

Where trade unions are week, the method of Compulsory Arbitration is used. Compulsory Arbitration is utilized generally when the parties fail to arrive at a settlement though the voluntary methods.

In India, Compulsory Arbitration is enforced because collective bargaining was not used for regulating wages & other conditions of employment. It may be said that Compulsory Arbitration may be at times & under certain circumstances, necessary & desirable. The nature, scale & timing of state intervention should be suited to the needs of different occasions. The objective of state intervention in the field of industrial relations should be to do social justice & make the weaker party equally strong to enable it ultimately to stand & survive on its own & settle its differences through negations & collective bargaining.

Compulsory Arbitration is one where the parties are required to arbitrate without any willingness on their part. Any one of the parties may apply to the appropriate governments to refer the dispute to adjudication machinery. Lockout/tagout in a DOE facility may serve three functions. The first function, defined by both OSHA and DOE Order 5480.19, is to protect personnel from injury. The second function closely related to that, is to protect systems and equipment from damage.

The third function of lockout/tagout is part of the overall control of equipment and system status. A properly performed lockout/tagout ensures that the operating staff is aware that the affected equipment cannot be operated. Coordination of lockout/tagout with the operating staff helps ensure that necessary operations and safety functions can be performed without exceeding the approved operating criteria for facility systems or causing unexpected hazardous releases to the environment.

Both functions are necessary for the overall safe operation of DOE facilities, in accordance with guidelines published by the Department of Energy, Office of Environment, Safety, and Health. Some considerations affecting the use of lockout/tagout are identified in the following sections.

4.1.1 Protecting Personnel from Injury

The primary emphasis of the lockout/tagout program is to protect personnel from injury. Lockout/tagout is required when maintenance is to be performed on equipment, unless the criteria listed in Section 4.1.4 of this document are met to qualify for exception to the lockout/tagout program. After the equipment has been isolated from all sources of potentially hazardous energy and material, locks (if used) and tags are applied to the isolating devices to ensure that the equipment cannot be operated inadvertently.

4.1.2 Protecting Equipment from Damage

When equipment problems that could destroy or severely damage the equipment are detected, a lockout/tagout may be used to remove the equipment from service and prevent its operation until corrective maintenance can be performed.

If lockout/tagout is used to protect the equipment, the procedures are identical to those used when the purpose is to prevent personnel injury & first, isolate the equipment from all sources of potentially hazardous energy, then apply locks and tags to prevent accidental or inadvertent operation.

In some facilities an alternative system is used for equipment protection. In this system, the equipment is not physically isolated from all energy sources but rather is tagged to indicate the specific conditions under which operation may be permitted. This system uses caution tags, which are discussed in Section 4.11.

The use of caution tags is not permitted as a lockout/tagout to protect personnel from energy or hazardous material sources.

4.1.3 Other Uses of Lockout/Tagout

In some situations, it may be necessary to prevent inadvertent operation of a functional system. The following example illustrates this: Fresh nuclear fuel for a particular reactor must be kept dry (free from water) until it is ready to be loaded into the reactor. This is necessary to prevent the possibility of an inadvertent criticality. When fuel is received in the facility, it must be transported through an area where a fire-protection sprinkler system is installed. During the time nuclear fuel is present in the area, it may be appropriate to isolate, lock, and tag the fire-protection sprinkler system to prevent its operation.

In this case, the lockout/tagout is not related to any maintenance activity, but the situation requires that the system be inoperable for safety reasons. Locking out valves on storage tanks to prevent environmental impact during maintenance may also be an appropriate use of lockout/tagout.


”A New Dictionary of Eponyms 1997”, Morton S. Freeman published by Oxford University Press 1997.

War and Conflict 1916 Easter Rising report published on BBC history by BBC. www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/easterrising/prelude/pr05.shtml accessed on 13.12.09

“Management” seventh editionBy Stephen P Robbins, Mary Coulter page 340-341 http://en.youth.cn) accessed on 12.12.2009 guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 9 June 2009

business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/support_services/article6952480.ece accessed on 11.12.2009

“Global Perspectives of Occupational Social Work” R. Paul Maiden page 48

“The Industrial employment (Standing orders) act, 1946” by B. L. Gupta, India Publisher University Book Agency, 1968



Human Resource Management V. S. P. RAO. Pages (444 - 454, 509 - 520)

Managing Human Resources E. A. RAMASWAMY. Page (87)


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