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Industrial Relations

Grievance Handling
Q. Define Grievance
Ans. A grievance is a formal expression of dissatisfaction about a work situation usually by an individual
employee, but it may sometimes be initiated by a group of employees or a union acting on their behalf.
According to M.J. Jucious – “A grievance is a complaint expressed in writing or orally on a company related
Keith Devis defines “A grievance as any real or imagined feeling of personal injustice which an employee has
concerning his employment relationship”.
Prof. Flippo defines a grievance in the words, “a complaint becomes a grievance when the employee feels that
an injustice has been committed”.
Q. What are the sources of employee grievances ?
A. The Sources of employee grievances includes:
i. Demands for individual wage adjustments,
ii. Complaints about the incentive systems
iii. Complaints about the job classifications,
iv. Complaints against a particular foreman
v. Complaints concerning disciplinary measures and procedures.
vi. Objections to the general methods of supervision,
vii. Loose calculation and interpretation of seniority rules, and unsatisfactory nterpretation of
ix.Disciplinary discharge or lay-off,
x.Transfer for another department or another shift,
xi. Inadequacy of safety and healthservices / devices
xii.Non-availability of material in time
xiii.Violation of contracts relating to collective bargaining
xiv.Improper job assignment, and
xv. Undesirable or unsatisfactory conditions of work.

Q. Discuss the causes of Grievance

A. Some causes can create grievances among the employee’s , this cause sometimes can be created by
the management or sometimes not. These causes may be created by the management or by the
employee’s side. Some of the causes of grievance are as follows—
(1) Unfair Management Practices : If management does not deal with the employees fairly
reagarding posting, promotion, transfer, training and so on, grievance among human resource may
take place. This grievance can lead to other problems affecting productivity and profitability of the
(2) Unfair treatment by the Supervisors: Supervisor’s fair treatment may ensure fulfillment
of organization objectives. If supervisors do not treat with employees fairly, they may not devote their
sincerity to achieve organization goal and thus they may show grievances.
(3) Inconsistence in the disciplinary actions: Proper and indiscriminate disciplinary action
can help maintain discipline in the organization where as inconsistence can create grievance among
the peace loving emplyees. Not only has that inconsistence also created some sort of bad relation
between management and employees.
(4) A violation of health and safety standards : Health and safety shoul be maintained
properly in the organization. If management shows reluctance to maintain reasonable health and
safety standards, employees may protest against these lapses.

(5) A violation of normal work procedure : Normal work procedure can ensure discipline in
the organization. Employees also want to follow normal work procedure. If the normal work
procedure is not followed, the employee may feel the aggrieved.

Q. What are the Principles of Handling Grievance ?

A. For handling grievances’ some principles should be followed which are briefly discussed
(1) Principles of interviewing : The employees who are agreed may be invited to appear
before the interview board and asked to clarify their resume for grievances. If they are given proper
assurance of taking necessary measures to remove grievances by the following ways-
(i) discussion with the employees
(ii) gathering information about the grievances and
(iii) supplying different types of information.

(2) Principles of management attitudes towards employees : Under this principles

management should cherish favorable attitude towards employees. This can create a congenial
environment for handling grievances. Following this principles a few measures can be adopted-
(i) showing interest to agreed employees.
(ii) showing do disinterest to the subordinates.
(iii) assuming that employees are lodging there grievance honesty
(iv) giving reasonable suggestion to solve the problem.

(3) Principles of management responsibilites : Under this principle, management should

behave responsibly. In this regard they should take every measure which is reasonable and acceptable
to the employees. If management behave responsibly, employees come forward to cooperate with the
management and accept any reasonable proposal positively for solution.

(4) Long run Principles : Grievance problem should be solves for the long term basis.
Always measures should not be taken to solve the problem for short term basis. Long term solution of
grievances cost less and gain more. For the said purpose –following thinks may be taken into

(i) Long run effects

(ii) Danger of losing confident
(iii) Human nature
(iv) Effects of the past.


Q. Discuss the different steps in handling grievances

A. There are some steps to be followed for handling grievances. These steps should be followed very
carefully otherwise grievance handling efforts may be jeopardized. Thses steps are discussed in
Step 1: Defining the nature of grievances : This step is to define the nature of grievance.
Management must know the nature of grievance problem, the sources grievance problem, the ways to
be adopted to solve the problem and so on for the sake of ahndling grievances.
Step 2 : Gathering Facts : After having full knowledge about the nature of grievance, management
hsould collect some information related to grievacne. Management should collect original causes of
grievance, who are related to the grievance. Why the problem was created, these can help the
management to solve the problem.

Step 3 : Establishing tentative solutions : At this stage of handling grievances management should
establish a tentative solution that can create peace soultion to the grievance.This is not the final
solution rather it is the experimental solution. Tentative solution may be suggested in a number of

Step 4 : Checking Tentative solutions : After establishing tentative solutions, management should
check and evaluate the impact of solution. At this stage, management comes to know both positive
and negative impact of solution. How negative impact can be eliminated and grievance can be solve
that should be the main outlook of management.

Step 5 : Applying solutions : This step is most important for handling grievance. At this stage,
management can apply final solutions to the problem. Since the tentative solutions has been checked
and positive results have been expected, this can solve the problem.

Step 6 : Follow-up of the grievance : At the last stage, management can monitor and follow-up of
the result. For getting fruitfull result, following ways can be of increase help for management to
handle the grievance-
(i) Observation
(ii) To know whether the employees are satisfied with the management decision
(iii)To arrange general discussion with the management
(iv) To ask other employees with a view to know about the reaction of the employee.

Q. Desirable Features of a Grievance Procedure

A. Every organisation should have a systematic grievance procedure in order to redress the grievances
effectively. The grievance procedure, to be sound and effective, should possess certain prerequisites:

Conformity with statutory provisions:Due consideration must be given to the prevailing legislation
while designing the grievance-handling procedure.

Acceptability : The grievance procedure should be fair and should be confirmed the participation of
all inorder to acceptable by all.

Simplicity:The grievance handling procedure should be simple and short. If the procedure is
complicated it may discourage employeesand they may fail to make use of it in a proper manner.
Promptness:The grievance of the employee should be promptly handled and necessary action must be
taken immediately.This is good for both the employer and management, because if the wrong doer is punished
late, it may effect the morale of other employees as well.

Training:The supervisors and the union representatives should be properly trained in all aspects of
grievance-handling beforehand, or else it will complicate the problem.

Follow up:The Personnel Department should keep track of the effectiveness and the functioning of
grievance handling procedure and make necessary changes to improve it from time to time.
Q. Discuss the Model Grievance Procedure

A. The Model grievance procedure suggested by the National Commissionof Labour involves six
successive time bound steps each leading to the next, in case of dissatisfaction.

Officer Designated by the Management --------02 days

Head Of the Department ------- 03 days

Grievance Committee -------07 days

Manager -------03 days

Appeal to management for revision -------07 days

Voluntary Arbitration -------07 days

Table : Successive Time Bound Steps to Grievance Procedure

The aggrieved worker in the first instance will approach the foreman and tell him of his grievances orally.The
foreman has to redress his grievance and if the worker is notsatisfied with this redressal, he can approach the
supervisor. TheSupervisor has to provide an answer within 48 hours. In the event of thesupervisor not giving
an answer or the answer not being acceptable tothe worker, the worker goes to the next step.

At this stage, the worker either alone or accompanied with his departmental representative approaches the
Head of the Department who has to give an answerwithin three days.If the Department fails to give answer or
if the worker is not satisfied with his answer, the worker may appeal to the Grievance Committee.

The Grievance Committee consisting of the representatives of the employer and the employees. The
recommendation of this Committee should be communicated to the Manager with in seven days from the date
of the grievance reaching it. Unanimous decisions, if any, of the Committee shall be implemented by the
Management.If there is no unanimity, theviews of the members of the Committee shall be placed before the
Manager for decision.The Manager has to take a decision and the worker within three days.

The worker can make an appeal against the manager’s decisionand such an appeal has to be decided within a
week. A Union official may accompany the worker to the manager for discussion and if no decision is arrived
at this stage, both the union and management may refer the grievance to voluntary arbitration within a week of
receipt of the management’s decision. The worker in actual practice may not resort to all the abovementioned
steps. For example, if the grievance is piqued because of his dismissal or discharge he can resort to the second
step directly and he can make an appeal against dismissal or discharge.


Q. Define Open Door Policy

A. Open door policy:This is a kind of walk-in-meeting with the manager when the employee can
express his feelings openly about any work-related grievance.The Manager can cross-check the
details of the complaint through various means at his disposal.