Chemist Warehouse is a pharmaceutical company that operates a chain of retail pharmacies. The company is based in Australia, and it is the biggest pharmacy retailer company in the country having over 8,000 staff members. This company deals with pharmaceutical products, and it is known for offering discounted prices for its products (“Chemist Warehouse workers strike over alleged sexual harassment, job casualization,” 2019). However, this company’s industrial relations have been a challenge because its employees from the warehouse in Preston and Storehouses in Somerton, Victoria went on strike on March 2019 over what they claimed is labor exploitation and sexual harassment (Valin et al., 2018). Chemist Warehouse is an example of the companies that need to implement strong human resources strategies that will eliminate bad industrial relations in the company.
Industrial Relation is the key determinant of the well-being of employees in any organization. Poor industrial relations involve bad treatment of employees in the workplace, which leads to low productivity because employees become demotivated; hence, they become less productive. Chemist Warehouse has been experiencing this challenge as a result of sexually harassment and exploiting of workers (Bacon et al., n.d). Additionally, there has been a work casualization of about seventy percent (Chidi & Okpala, 2012). According to ABC News, Chemist Warehouse workers said that they would receive messages as late as 10.00pm indicating whether they would report to the job the next day or not. This situation is similar to the time Fox wrote his book “Beyond Contract” (1974) when work relations in the United Kingdom were impoverished. During the time of Fox, managers used their powers to exploit employees for their gains. As a result, Fox proposed that industrial relations can be viewed in three flames of reference, including Unitism, Pluralism, and Radicalism.
This was a descriptive and a normative theory that was being held by many managers. This theory is based on the perception of society and organizations that managers should be given the privilege of having control of every situation in an organization. This theory suggests that this idea was theorized as the harmony of interests and doctrine of common purpose. The belief that lack of trust and work relations conflict was pathology was supported by such ideas, which was as a result of sectional interest that was being aggravated by the political motivation of shop stewards and by leadership and poor managerial communications. This frame of reference sees an organization as a harmonious consisting of loyal workers and management teams (Berg & Farbenblum, 2017). This frame of reference assumes that there is a common interest between workers and managers. In the Chemist Warehouse context, the management and the workers are not in good terms; hence, the organization is not harmonious. The management in Chemist Warehouse organization has the interests of exploitation the workers which are against the will of most staff members and the employees. The management is interested in getting good salaries and benefits from the company. The staff and casual workers are also interested in getting better salaries and increased benefits (Chidi & Okpala, 2012).
This frame of reference views an organization consisting of many different groups, which have their own interests’.This frame of reference best fits in the post-world war two social democracy which compromises between different classes holding pro-capitalist positions. Pluralism frame of reference focused on overcoming the limitations of Unitism through setting in place the limits of coercion (Perelberg, 2017). According to Fox, Pluralism is a more realistic industrial relation analysis.
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Moreover, Fox suggested that Pluralism is an essential model of enhancing industrial relations, which is made up of diverse groups having different interests. In pluralist view of organizations focuses on different but related group objective and interests, which are the basis for the norms of an organization. According to fox, these interests must be respected because they are the sources of leadership which must be understood by every stakeholder of an organization (Kirk, 2017). This frame of reference best fits in Chemist Warehouse context because the company consists of different groups of people having different interests. Such groups include Casual workers, staff, and the organization management, team. Each group has its interests that are almost similar to those of the other groups.
This is the third frame of reference that Fox proposed after the pluralism perspective. This frame of reference takes into account the coercive duress, which binds workers to the employment contract. This perspective is based on the alienation of particular workgroup that results from the exploitation of groups in the organization. In this perspective, a balance of power in an organization is almost impossible. Under this perspective, people compete for scarce resources, and hence, one group or more must be exploited when competing for scarce resources (Loignon et al.,.2017).In most cases, employees are forced to accept the structural inequalities and are expected to submit to the employment contract despite the provisions in the contract. Such provisions are against the interests of the employees.
Human resource management Strategies to resolve issues
Employees are the largest capital of any organization, and hence, they must be treated well. Proper management of human resources results in increased profitability for every organization. Human Resource Management strategies are ways in which employees can be managed efficiently and effectively in order to achieve organizational goals and objectives. Coming up with an effective employee management program is the first best strategy that Chemist Warehouse needs to implement. This strategy will help in determining relevant dimensions of performance among all employees through providing all necessary incentives required for better performance.
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Another strategy that needs to be implemented in Chemist Warehouse is coming up with a competitive compensation plan that will be based on the payment packages from other companies. This package will include better employee’s benefits such as medical allowance, house allowances, Insurance cover, and bonuses. A competitive compensation package will reduce the level of employee’s turnover and eliminate employee’s strikes. Moreover, such benefits enable employees to be much more motivated at the work place, and hence, the organization will achieve its goals and objectives.
These strategies are essential in ensuring that the organization is in a harmonious state that results to smooth flow of activities and improves group cohesion as well as an employer- employees’ relation. Harmonious environment is vital for increased production and productivity of an organization.
- Bacon, N., Blyton, P., Fiorito, J., Heery, E., Budd, J. W., & Bhave, D. VALUES, IDEOLOGIES, AND FRAMES OF REFERENCE IN EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS.
- Berg, L., & Farbenblum, B. (2017). Wage theft in Australia: Findings of the national temporary migrant work survey. Available at SSRN 3140071.
- Chemist Warehouse workers strike over alleged sexual harassment, job casualisation. (2019). Retrieved 15 August 2019, from https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-12/chemist-warehouse-workers-strike-alleged-labour-exploitation/10894090
- Chidi, C. O., & Okpala, O. P. (2012). Theoretical approaches to employment and industrial relations: a comparison of subsisting orthodoxies. Theoretical and Methodological Approaches to Social Sciences and Knowledge Management, 263-278.
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- Perelberg, R. J. (2017). A Multi-Dimensional Frame of Reference: The Independent tradition. In British Psychoanalysis (pp. 14-18). Routledge.
- Valin, M., Proulx, C., Amiot, L. P., Falardeau, B., & Deslongchamps, J. (2018). U.S. Patent No. 9,901,405. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
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