You are on page 1of 71



(with reference to Visakhapatnam Port Trust) Visakhapatnam

A Project Report Submitted to Osmania University in partial fulfillment for the award of

MASTERS IN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION By S.Vandana Roll. No.: 022-08-132 Under the guidance of Mrs.A.Harileela Lecturer, School Of Management Studies Chaitanya Bharathi Institute of Technology(CBIT)

CHAITANYA BHARATHI INSTITUE OF TECHNOLOGY (Sponsored by Chaitanya Bharathi Educational Society, Affiliated to Osmania University, Hyderabad)


This is certify that S.Vandana, a student of Chaitanya Bharathi Institute of Technology, Hyderabad 2008-2010 batch, has undergone the project work on A STUDY ON EMPLOYEE GRIEVENCES MANAGEMENT, with reference to VISAKHAPATNAM PORT TRUST, had fulfilled all the requirements concerning the project work. It was completed under the guidance of Mrs.A.Harileela Lecturer, CBIT and is certified to be the students bonafide work.

Place: Date:

Mrs. A.Harileela Lecturer, CBIT


I hereby declare that the project work entitled A STUDY ON EMPOYEE GRIEVENCES with reference to Visakhapatnam Port Trust, has been prepared by me and submitted to CHAITANYA BHARATHI INSTITUTE OF TECHNONOLY(CBIT) in partial fulfillment of MASTERS IN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION from OSMANIA University for the academic year 2008-2010. I also declare that this project work is the result of my sincere efforts and has not been submitted to other universities for the award of degree of MASTERS IN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION.

Place: Visakhapatnam Date:

S.Vandana Roll No.: 022-08-132 Batch: 2008-2010


I take this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to Dr.I.Ramchandra Reddy Director CBIT ; Hyderabad, for providing me an opportunity to take up this project. I also like to thank my internal guide Mrs. A.Harileela Lecturer, School of Management Studies CBIT; for her valuable guidance and cooperation throughout the project. I sincerely extend my gratitude to the management of Visakha Port Trust, for giving me an opportunity to complete my project work in this esteemed organization. I would also like to express my heartfelt thanks to Shri K. Sreekanth, Asst. Director (HRDC) for his valuable suggestions & instructions and to Shri Vijay Bhaskar, Head Assistant (Administration) for his constant guidance and help without which the project work might not have been completed successfully and to all the other officials of Personnel Department for their valuable information and instructions. Lastly but not the least, I would like to express my sincere thanks to my guide, Shri K.Nagabhushan Rao, Labour Officer-II (Mech), for his guidance and co-operation during the entire project work.


1. Introduction

Organization signifies collective life, cooperation of people, co-ordination efforts and a unified purpose. The energies generated out of the combinations of various resources are channelized in a direction to achieve the set objectives. But cooperation and conflict are the two sides of the coin-the inevitable fact of group life. A state of total absence of conflict is unbelievable and it would be nave to insist that all conflicts can be eliminated in some manner other. Conflict per se is neither bad nor contrary to organizational health. Suppression of conflicts is adverse to both the employee and organization in majority of cases. So when it is surfaced, opportunes a discussion and resolution. Disagreements and dissatisfactions can lead to reexamination of basic assumptions and practices to the end that adjustments can be made to improve overall organizational effectiveness. A grievance is a conflicting situation, broadly it can be understood as any discontent or dissatisfaction results in a complaint that effects organizational performance. An employee may complain either formally through a complaint in writing or informally by an oral representation, but nevertheless it indicates a state of discontent and dissatisfaction existing in him. May be it is against an uncomfortable, unbearable working condition, non-cooperation of co-employee or one has been bypassed in promotion. So a grievance in business organizations, in always expressed either verbally or in writing. It can be either valid or ridiculous and must grow out of something connected with company operations or policy. In some cases, it may involve an interpretation or application of provisions of the labour contract. In organizational set up, a very good beginning in the resolution of conflicts is their discovery and exposure. So upward channels of communication can be permitted to bringing dissatisfaction to the surface. Grievance procedure consists of all the steps and activities enable the organization to redress a grievance. In most of the cases, grievances are redressed informally and disposed off very speedily, while in many instances, there is a necessity for legal obligations and grievances can be redressed aside by the procedure norms. In addition to the formal procedure like open-door policy and step-ladder system, the Industrial Employment (Standing orders) 1946, Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 and Factories Act 1948 are the statutes providing legal backing to grievance redressal management.

Visakhapatnam Port Trust is a major port in India and its operations require considerably intensive labour deployment. Visakhapatnam Port Trust has set benchmark practices in various aspects of its operations and earned global fame for efficient handling of various assignments. Even though the Port management and Trade Unions are collectively striving for the betterment of the organization, we cant deny that there is no scope for any grievance. The Port has scientific redressal system and is provided ventilation to surface the grievances. Thus the grievance redressal management has proved as a linkpin in achieving industrial harmony.


For any organization, having considerable size of human resource segment, managing industrial relations assumes equal importance with other areas. Grievance redressal management is also an element in contribution of industrial peace and organizational health. Discontent and dissatisfaction in employees, if suppressed, even if surfaced and not addressed results in various problems, ultimately leads to diseconomy in operations. So providing channels to ventilate the employee grievance, understanding the problem, redressal management are in fact constitutes the grievance procedure. Visakhapatnam Port Trust, inspite of machinery and equipment, has deployed very good size of manpower and to redress the grievances arising from time to time, it has evolved a scientific redressal management system. So, with a motive to understand the the nature of complaints-employee grievances communication channels available to convey grievances policies in operation procedure followed in redressal management and to study the decision making process in redressing grievance I undertook this study and hence this study.



To have an understanding about the grievance redressal procedure of Visakhapatnam Port Trust.

2. 3.

To know the nature of grievances arising from time to time in the organization. To understand various communication devices available in Visakhapatnam Port Trust for surfacing the employee grievances.

4. 5.

To comprehend the policy background in redressal management. To observe practically the procedure in this connection and to study the decision making process.


To evaluate the effectiveness of grievance procedure in Visakhapatnam Port Trust and to finally offer suggestions for reducing the cases of grievances.


Towards the accomplishment of the above said objectives, information is obtained from primary as well as secondary sources. Primary Data The primary data is collected from interaction with the officials in personnel department and the staff attached with the same, who are dealing with grievance redressal management. Data is also collected from a reading of original manuals provided by the department. Secondary Data The secondary data is collected from books, journals, company magazines and Websites. Data Analysis For the purpose of experimental study, few cases are collected to analyze the grievance redress management and the information is subjected to descriptive analysis.



Some of the records and information cannot be shared and it is not available because of the confidentiality. It is a big limitation. Information provided here is on general nature only. Due to time constraint it is difficult to conduct a detailed study. The present study contains only brief information, but not a full pledged and thorough analysis.

Objectives of Port:
The main objective of working of the port is to import and export cargo on sea through ships. By this the very benefit that occurs to the nation follows: a. Securing the required goods for the country. b. Exporting the surplus cargo from the country. c. Maintaining the economic balance within the country. d. Earning foreign exchange to the country.



Perspective plan for Visakhapatnam Port 19962020:

The Port desires to move ahead and peep into the future to enable it to formulate appropriate developmental, operational and management strategies to fulfill to avowed policy of providing a high standard & efficient port services to its customers clientele. Accordingly, the research and planning department of port trust was entrusted with the task of preparing the perspective plan in consultation with the other developments of the port and concerned authorities associated with the port industry. The study divided into 4 parts. a) Technology Perspective. b) Cargo Perspective. c) Developmental Perspective. d) Organization Perspective. The main aim of this perspective plan is to provide qualitative services, a service no way second to that of services provided by the other port in the world to its customers, through adequate and efficient port facilities that meet and fulfill the demand from the increasing cargo through out from the port to year. Hinterland: The growth of Visakhapatnam City and Port depends to a large extent on the regional potentialities. Hinterland is a German word, which means back waters and is referred to the territory beyond the coastal district over which the colonial power claimed jurisdiction. Subsequently geographers adopted the word. The growth and the change of maritime transport, port activity and road transport have altered the traditional concept of port hinterland. The pattern and volume of traffic of any port and its capacity to grow depends to a large extend upon the nature and extent of economic activity in the hinterland. Hence the size of the economic hinterland is determined by its physical geography set pattern of trade, location of industry and transport facility for improvement of raw material. Port serves hinterland of A.P., Orissa, M.P., Bihar, Maharashtra and U.P. playing vital role in festering the cornels foreign trade and rapid industrialization of the hinterland.

Environmental Improvement Measures:


Port gives importance to the environmental protection. Plantation (1,40,000 plants) to provide green belt and mitigate dust pollution. proposed in 1998-99, spent so far is Rs. 8.5 crore. Environmental Protection: Visakhapatnam Port is the first Indian major Port and one of the very few ports of South East Asian Countries to receive the prestigious ISO 14001 certificate. It is understood that even those South East Asian ports, which received the award, have been accredited only for one or two terminals but not for the entire gamut of operations. Visakhapatnam Port has been certified as conforming to Environmental Management System in all the facilities and related support services. A massive tree plantation programmed in all targeted areas was taken up and about 3.16 lakhs shaping of various species with 95% survival rate have been planted in and around the port area. In recognition of the outstanding contribution, made by the port, the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board presented a certificate for Best Green Belt Development to Visakhapatnam Port on 5-6-2002 on the World Environment Day.

Table showing the Imports and Exports in VPT:

1. Urea 2. Marinate of Sculpture 3. Rock Phosphate 4. Food Grains 5. Crude Oils 6. Petroleum Products 7. Cooking Coal 8. Zinc concentrates 9. Iron Scrap 10. Metallurgical Coal 11. Iron and Steel 12. Machinery 13. Cement 14. Sugar and Edible oil 15. Timber logs 16. Liquid Ammonia 17. Iron Pallets 18. Lead concentrates 19. Phosphoric acid 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Iron ore Potash and Manganese ore Charge Chrome Other ores Steel Rails Steel Coils Other materials Thermal Coal Alumina Powder Wheat, Shrimp, Sugar



Each major port has a Board of Trustees representing various interest connected with the port operations and the shipping industry. The chairman of each major port trust is appointed by Central Government. Besides Chairman, the port trust board comprises of a Deputy Chairman, representative of Customers, railways, Defense, State Government, ship owners, shippers, etc. All members other than the Chairman and Deputy Chairman are port time members. There are 10 departments in Visakhapatnam Port Trust and those departments are categorized under 2 heads: a) Non-Operational Departments NON-OPERATIONAL DEPARTMENTS 1. Administrative Department 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Finance Department Personnel Department Research & Planning Dept. Materials Department Medical Department 1. 2. 3. 4. b) Operational Departments OPERATIONAL DEPARTMENTS Marine Department Traffic Department Mechanical Department Engineering Department


1. Administrative Department: The Secretary heads it. The functions of this department are like Administrative policy execution, board matters, legal matters and co-ordination of all departments. 2. Finance Department: Financial adviser and Chief Accounts Officer heel this Department. The functions of this department are managing finance matters, preparation and computation of budgets, internal audit and revenue realization, etc.


3. Personnel Department: This Department is headed by manager (Operations). The matters related to personnel policies and the recruitment of employees, sanctioning of posts, their welfare, needs, training on personnel matters and Industrial relations, etc. It is responsible for creating and conducting harmonized relations in the organization, so as to achieve maximum productivity and better facilities in the work. 4. Research and Planning Department: This Department consists of compiling information, port statistics, project capital budgets, forecasting trade, traffic analysis trade promotion and data processing of wage bills, etc. 5. Materials Department: Chief materials manager heads this department. The function of this department is procurement of materials, management of stores and supply to all departments as per requirements and norms. 6. Medical Department: Chief medical officer heads this department. It provides health, sanitary and medical facilities to the employees of all departments of Port Trust. 7. Marine Department: This is under the control of deputy conservator. It is responsible for safe navigation of vessels and berthing, Pilotage, maintenance of dredging a port and fire services are other functions of this department. 8. Traffic Department: Traffic Manager heads this Department. The activities of this Department are responsible for smooth flow of traffic by allotting berths to the ships visiting the port and collects berthing charges. It also regulates rail traffic operations. 9. Mechanical Department: This Department is under control of Chief Mechanical Engineer. It maintains all electrical and mechanical equipment and executes project works regarding purchase and installation of big electrical or mechanical equipment. 10. Engineering Department: Chief Engineer heads this Department. The functions of this department are execution of project works and maintenance of civil works like building quarters and berths, etc.


Emerged as Top Ranking Port of the country for the second year in Succession with highest throughout among major ports (44.343 Million tones). Highest throughout of 74.04 lakh tones through ore handling complex 1st time since inception of the plan in 1965. Zero demurrage on port account to the iron ore ships launched at the port an event unheard in the history of port.
Savings to the exchange to the tune of about Rs. 76 crores through improved

performance of ore handling complex. Lowest ever pre-berthing detention of 57 hours and lowest ever turn round time of 3.51 days. Highest ever Avg. berth day output of 10,772 tones surpassing the provided best throughout of 9,799 tones by 10%. Highest ever container throughput of 21,517 Toes. Highest ever gang shift output of 689 tones. Rest. 60,00,000 direct saving to the port through reduction in hire charged for iron ore wagons. Saving of 2,200 tippling hours by twin and third wagon theyre through improved performance. Highest productivity in respect of 28 cores out of 40 predominant carried handled through the port. High operating surplus of Rest. 171.15 cores in the history of the Port. One of the finest operating ratios of 56.6%. Highest earning of Rs.14.85 crores by port railway system. 32% reduction in over time despite handling of highest cargo with highest productivity, 24% reduction in staff strengths and 40% increase in the unit rate of O.T. allowance. Savings to the tune of Rs. 140 crores through reduction in inventory.


Saving to the tune of maintenance dredging.

Rs. 68 lakhs owing to

the reduction of

Savings to the tune of 5 crores or 10% required and maintenance expenditure of mobile equipment. 40% reduction in inventory owing to better inventory management practices. 22% reduction in water consumption, 15% reduction in power consumption, 8% reduction in HSD oil consumption and 30% reduction in petrol consumption owing to several administrative reforms launched during the year. Highest imports of 178.67 lakh tones in a year (Previous best 173 lakh tones in 1999-2000). Highest trans-shipment of crude & P.O.L. 9.32 million tones. Highest exports of aluminum - calcimined petroleum coke, wheat, granite, illuminate sand, etc.

Visakhapatnam port trust is one of the major bulk cargos handling port in India. The port has been adopting itself to the changing needs of the bulk traffic, keeping peace with the technological revolution of ship building and transportation system. Total port area Total land area Total water spread Inner harbor Outer harbor Total reclaimed area = = = = = 4369 hectares 3882 hectares 300 hectares 100 hectares 200 hectares ---------------------------= 3537 hectares

The main activities of port are:

1. Maintenance of port approaches, navigable channels and along side berths, dredging, conservation, hydrographic surveys. 2. Pilotage, towage, berthing and un-berthing of visiting ships. 3. Handling, warehousing and transportation of goods in the port area.


4. Civil, mechanical and electrical engineering and maintenance and fumigation. 5. Fire fighting and fumigation.


To carry out various activities each port engages different types of labour, the workers employed by the port authorities are generally known as port workers and they work on shore. For work on board a ship, workers registered with dock labour board known as dock labour are engaged. There will be large number of workforce besides equipment etc. Organization requires high degree of skill, coordination, cordial relations, etc. for the successful operation of port.

The Berthing Facilities in VPT:


Multipurpose -------------------- 13 Oil Tankers ----------------------- 02 Mooring --------------------------- 01 Fertilizer berths ----------------- 01

LPG Terminal ---------------- 01 ORE ---------------------------- 02 GCB ---------------------------- 01 OSIT ---------------------------- 01 Multipurpose ---------------- 02 New Oil Mooring ----------- 01

____________________________ Total -------------------------------- 17

__________________________ Total ---------------------------- 08

Meaning: The word transport has been derived from the Latin word Trans-portage. Trans means across or the other side and portage means to carry. Transportation thus means to


carry goods from one side to other side or from one place to another. Transport, as such is a service that helps goods and persons to be carried from one place to another. The transport industries which undertake movement of persons and things from one place to another have constituted one of the most important activities of men in every stage of advanced civilization by various ways such as land, water, air, etc. and means such as motor, car, trucks, railways, ships, steamers and airplanes, men and materials care carried from the place of abundance to the place where they are in demand. Modern means of transport have broken the distance frontiers and united the whole world into one thread. Raw materials are carried to the factories over long distances for processing; finished goods are distributed for consumption in national and international within no time; perishable commodities are safely and rapidly distributed over far and distant places. The introduction of transport system in the area opens new vistas of economic activity, gives a fore step to dormant potential and inspires hope and life among the people in that area. CLASSIFICATION OF TRANSPORT: Transport can be classified from various angles such as surface or track used vehicles and aviations transports, water transport, pipelines, etc. These transport classes can further be sub-divided into various transport systems. SURFACE TRANSPORT:
1. Road Transport: Road include human porter, all types of animal carts, mechanized

and power driven vehicles such as motor buses, trucks, scooters, bicycles, carts etc. All these means use road as their tracks.
2. Railways: Railways are considered the life a nation. They occupy the most premier

place among all the means of transport. Railway starts in Europe after the industrial revolution and today they constitute the most important system of transport in most of the countries. Railways are most suited to carry bulky and heavy goods like raw materials, food grains, minerals and factory goods. Their high speed and great carrying capacity has met the formidable challenge posed by rapidly growing traffic. WATER TRANSPORT:
1. Inland Water Transport: Inland water comprises of rivers, canals and lakes. Water

transport is cheaper because the ways are generally gifts of nature involving no investment. Moreover, Water offer low resistance to ships and boats, usually about one-fifth of average resistance met by trains on railways. This low resistance accounts for lesser fuel cost, lower risk of damage to cargo and lower insurance cost.


2. Ocean Transport: It can be divided into coastal (Home Trade) and international

(Foreign Trade). In coastal ocean transport, goods and passengers are carried from one port to another of some country, while in international ocean transport cargo and person are moved from one country to another. Ships and steamers are used as ocean vehicles. Ocean way is also a gift of nature and therefore no money has to be spent on its construction and maintenance. Shipping occupies a unique position in international trade. More than 75% of the worlds international trade is done through shipping.

AIR TRANSPORT: This is the latest means of transport. Air transport using sky as its way and airplane as vehicle, is of recent growth and origin, it developed particularly after the First World War. While it has got the advantages of rapidity, unbroken journey, aerial photography, survey and forest protection, defense, etc., it suffers from being very expensive for travel, low weight carrying, binding of international laws, high frequency of accidents etc., it suits high class goods and public. Still it enjoys unique importance due to its speed. PIPELINES: Pipelines are comparatively new in the field of transport. Besides water, they are now being utilized for transport of petroleum products, liquids and gases from distant places of their production to the centers of their consumption. The initial investment of spreading pipelines is high, but they involve very normal operating expenses, as they require no vehicles, operators or motive power.

An organization is the structural relationship between the various factors in an enterprise. Organizational structures are designed to overcome the limitation of people and to create an environment in which namely energies will be recluse to concentrate on the work at hand. Moreover, organization is concerned with building, developing and maintaining a structure of working relationship in order to accomplish the objectives of the enterprise. Organization at the same time denotes both structure and a process. As a structure, organization is the structural relationship among various related department in an enterprise. Organization is the process of harmony, co-ordination and combination of individual efforts for the accomplishment of a set of predetermined goals. The major ports are under the direct administrative control of Central Government. The ports are administered by 17 Board of Trustees under the Major Ports Act, 1963, assisted in day-to-day administration. Previously, the port trustees were17, but in 1984 the number was reduced to 13 with the amendment of Major Ports Act, 1963. The Ministry of Surface Transport, Government of India constituted the following trustees:


1. Chairman 2. Deputy Chairman 3. One trustee representing the State Government 4. One trustee representing the Central Government 5. One trustees representing the Defence 6. Two trustees representing Labor 7. One trustee representing the Trusteeship owners association 8. One trustee representing the AP Chamber of Commerce 9. One trustee representing the Vizag Chamber of Commerce 10. One trustee representing the HPCL

ORGANISATION SET- UP OF VPT:Board of Trustees Chairman Deputy Chairman Head of the Department Deputy Head of the Departments Deputy Head of the Departments Section Officers

Departments: Chairman Deputy Chairman

Non Operational Administration Department Personnel Department

Operational Traffic Department Material Department


Medical Department Accounts Department Research and Planning Department

Marine Department Mechanical Department Civil Department


Port of Visakhapatnam is committed to provide prompt, efficient and safe services to ensure quick turn round of sea, rail and road borne cargo by: Implementing and continually improving the performance of occupational health and safety, environmental and quality management systems. Complying with the applicable legal requirements and other applicable requirements. Preventing injury and occupational satisfaction. Preventing pollution to the environment by setting sound environmental objectives. Enhancing customer satisfaction. Ensuring promotion of awareness among the employees and the port users on safety, health, environment and quality. Make available this policy to the public, associated personnel and the interested parties.


Grievance Redressal management

INTRODUCTION: There is hardly a company or an industrial concern which functions absolutely smoothly at all times. In some, the employees have complaints against their employers, while in others it is the employers who have a grievance against the employees. These grievances may be real or imaginary, valid or invalid, genuine or false. Broadly speaking, a complaint affecting one or more workers constitutes a grievance. The compliant may relate to quantum of wages, the mode of payment, payment of over time, work, leave, interpretation of service agreements, working conditions ,promotions, seniority, transfers , work assignments, dismissal or discharge ,or a complaint against a foreman, against the quality of the plant or parts used in its machinery, or food available in canteen. Where the points at disputes are of general applicability or are of a considerable magnitude, they fall outside the scope of the procedure that is the grievance handling. In their working lives, employee occasionally have cause to uncomfortable, disappointed or aggrieved either about certain managerial decisions, practice or service conditions .The question then is whether this particular symptom or feeling is given any attention or is ignored altogether. In present day social context, especially in democratic system, it is accepted that employees should be able to express their dissatisfaction, whether it be a minor irritation, a serious problem, or a difference of opinion with the supervisor over terms and conditions of employment.


There is hardly a company where the employees do not have grievances of one kind or the other. These grievances may be real or imaginary, valid or invalid, genuine or false. A grievance produces unhappiness, discontent, indifference, low morale, frustration, etc. Ultimately, it affects employees concentration, efficiency and productivity. A large number of work stoppages, shop floor incidents and strikes could be attributed to the faulty handling of grievances. In the maintenance of peace in industrial units, a well-defined and adequate procedure for redressal of day-to-day grievances is an essential pre-requisite. Prompt and effective handling of grievances is the key to industrial peace. Grievance is rust on human relations. The cost of a grievance can be high in terms of time loss, poor work, damage to costly machines by neglect, employee resentment, poor customer service, resistance to change, union-management conflict and so on. The organizations that do not provide such complaint processing mechanisms for their employees may suffer from consequences which could enfeeble the organization process. Effective grievance administration helps the management to shift from purely preventive and maintenance needs to the developmental needs of employees such as improving communication, job-redesigning, integration with corporate goals, etc. Workers learn about industrial democracy from the grievance process, as they participate in shop decisions that affect their work life. A grievance can be defined as any sort of dissatisfaction, which needs to be redressed in order to bring about the smooth functioning of the individual in the organization. Broadly, a grievance can be defined as any discontent of dissatisfaction with any aspect of the organization. It can be real or imaginary, legitimate or ridiculous, rated or unvoiced, written or oral; it must be however, find expression in some form of the other. Discontent or dissatisfaction is not a grievance. They initially find expression in the form of a complaint. When a complaint remains unattended to and the employee concerned feels a sense of lack of justice and fair play, the dissatisfaction grows and assumes the status of grievance. Usually grievance relate to problems of interpretation of perceived non-fulfillment of ones expectation from the organization. Aggrieved employees usually manifest defiant behavior. The International Labour Organization (ILO) defines a grievance as a complaint of one or more workers with respect to wages and allowances, conditions of work and


interpretation of service, condition covering such areas as overtime, leave, transfer, promotion, seniority, job assignment and termination of service. The National Commission on Labour observed that complaints affecting one or more individual workers in respect of their wage payments, overtime, leave, transfer, promotion seniority, work assignment and discharge would constitute grievances. It is important to make a distinction between individual grievances and group grievances. If the issue involved relate to one or a few individual employees, it needs to be handled through a grievance procedure, but when general issues with policy implications and wider interest are involved they become the subject matter for collective bargaining. "Normally, if an employee has a day-to-day work-related problem, question or complaint, an employee should discuss it and attempt to resolve it with his/her supervisor. Alternatively, an employee can discuss any problem with the credit union president, in the event an employee does not feel comfortable presenting the problem to the supervisor. The simplest, quickest and most satisfactory solution can usually be reached at this level. Definitions: A grievance is any dissatisfaction or feeling of injustice in connection with once employment situation that is brought to notice of the management

A type of discontent which must always be expressed .A grievance is usually more formal in character than a complaint .It can be valid or ridiculous, and must grow out of something connected with company operations or policy. It must involve an interpretation or application of the provisions of the labour contract. -EDWIN B. FLIPPO. The term grievance as it appears in the written contract refers to a formal complaint by people who believe that they have been wronged by a management decision. -VIDA GULBINAS SCARPELLO, JAMES LEDVINKA, AND THOMAS J. BERGMANN. A grievance is any discontent or dissatisfaction ,whether expressed or not ,whether valid or not, arising out of anything connected with the company that an employee thinks ,believes or even feels is unfair, unjust or inequitable.



Ones allegation that something imposes an illegal obligation or burden, or denies some equitable or legal right, or causes injustice. - LAW DICTIONARY In the world or work a grievance is a formal statement of complaint, generally against an authority figure. Procedures for grievance are common in unionized organizations. - WIKIPEDIA

In their working lives, employees occasionally have cause to be uncomfortable, disappointed or aggrieved whether about certain managerial decisions, practices or service conditions. Efficient grievance management is an important and internal part of human resource management. There are several aspects of HRM, human relations and industrial relations practices which generate feelings of discontent on the part of individual workers. In fact, it is the starting point of the process since further arguments and agreements emanate on the basis of the agreement arrived at earlier. In the implementation of a collective agreement a number of problems, grievances-arise frequently and on account of this reason both management and workers show utmost concern to the collective agreement. If an individuals grievances are unattended and unresolved they will become collective disputes. Hence, there is a necessity of providing a procedure for the redressal of individual grievances. The broadest interpretation of the term would include any discontent or dissatisfaction that affects organizational performance. As such it can be either stated or unvoiced, written or oral, legitimate or ridiculous. The only major restriction in this definition is that the discontent must affect worker performance. Personnel experts, however, have attempted to distinguish between dissatisfaction, compliant, and grievance. Generally speaking, dissatisfaction is any state or feeling of dissatisfaction which is orally made known by one employee to another is known as a


complaint. A complaint becomes a grievance when this dissatisfaction, which is mostly related to work, is brought to the notice of the management. A grievance is sometimes described as anything which an employee thinks or feeling as wrong, and is generally accompanied by an actively disturbing feeling. The grievance is usually more formal in character than a complaint. A grievance is a sign of employees discontent with job and its nature. Complaint may affect one or more individual workers in respect of wage payments, overtime, leave, transfer, promotion, seniority work assignment and termination of service etc. To large extent the approach will be governed by several variables such as the style of management, size of enterprise, level of education of the workforce, technology of the plant and the extent of unionization of the workforce. Information of new schemes or new ways of working, and the criteria of awareness the employee will understand the consequences of such of action better and therefore the number of grievances due to the increased awareness will be reduced.

Importance of grievance procedure

The grievance procedure is one of the most important mechanisms available for employees to express their dissatisfaction. It is also a means available to management to keep a check on relevant diagnostic data on the state of organization health. The grievance impacts on employees decline in production and change in individual work habits and approaches to the job itself. Statistical indices taken together and analyzed to determine a pattern could also be revealing indices such as absenteeism rates, accident data, request for transfer etc. So the management has to take action in right time otherwise faces the problems like above. If the employee has suffered with cause of grievance they cannot concentrate on their work. It will show impact on the production and quality of the product and wastage of materials and spoilage of machinery. It results in increasing the cost of production. The feeling of dissatisfaction results in increasing the rate of absenteeism and reducing the level of commitment towards work and increase the incidence of accidents. So the management has to take action in terms of grievance with in short span of time and a proper solution to that grievance. In a compliant of grievance it should be clarified with


proper solution otherwise it will creates major problem in organization and grievance turns into conflict. So the management must redress the grievance with a remedy and give a solution to employee.

A grievance reflects the inner feelings of employee on that company. In general, grievance affects not only the employees and managers but also the organization as a whole. In view of these adverse effects, the management has to identity and redresses the grievance in a prompt manner. The management can know the employees feelings and opinions about the company practices and should detect the pulse of the employee. Whatever form they may take grievance procedures are intended to allow companies to hear and resolve complaints in a timely and cost effective manner, before they result in litigation. Knowing that formal procedures are available often encourages employees to raise concerns or question company policies before major problems develop. It also tends to makes managers less likely to ignore problems, because they know that upper management may become involved through the grievance process. In union settings, grievances procedures help protect employees against arbitrary decisions of management regarding discipline, discharge, promotions, or benefits. They also provide labor unions and employers with a formal process for enforcing the provisions of their contracts. Although having grievance procedures in place is important in both unionized and non-unionized settings, companies must support their written policies with consistent actions if they hope to maintain good employee relations. To make the grievance procedure work, management and the union have to approach it with the attitude that it serves the mutual interests of management, employees, and the union, Scarpello, Ledvinka, and Bergmann wrote. An effective grievance procedure helps management discover and correct problems in operations before they cause serious trouble. It provides a vehicle through which employees and the union can communicate their concerns to upper management. For grievance procedures to be effective, both parties should view them as a positive force that facilitates the open discussion of issues. A grievance procedure is necessary in a large organization, which has numerous personnel and at different levels with the result that the manager is unable to keep a check on each individual or be involved in every aspects of the working of the organization. In


small organization communication, knowledge and contact is possible to a much greater extent, thus reducing the need for a formal grievance procure. More than anything else, it needs to be understood that having a formal grievance procedure is all very well, but what really matters is the climate or the spirit that prevails in the organization from top management downwards. If there is a spirit of give and take, of willingness to understand the workers problems, of providing process and system to resolve problems of individual employees and between individual and his group and between groups, are paves way to mitigate grievance. The employees should be able to express their dissatisfaction whether it be a minor irritation, a serious problem or a difference of opinion with the supervisor over terms and conditions of employment. Poor communication between management and its employees is another cause of grievance. Supervisory practices are a major source of grievance. Introduction of new schemes in new ways of working will make the employee understand the consequences of such of action better and therefore the number of grievance may be reduced the minimum.

Features of Grievance
If we analyze this definition, some noticeable features emerge clearly: a. b. c. A grievance refers to any form of discontent or dissatisfaction with any aspect of the organization. The dissatisfaction must arise out of employment and not due to personal or family problems. The discontent can arise out of real or imaginary reasons. When the employee feels that injustice has been done to him, he has a grievance. The reasons for such a feeling may be valid or invalid, legitimate or irrational, justifiable or ridiculous. d. The discontent may be voiced or unvoiced. But it must find expression in some form. However, discontent per se is not a grievance. Initially, the employee may complain orally or in writing. If this is not looked into promptly, the employee feels a sense of lack of justice. Now the discontent grows and takes the shape of a grievance. e. Broadly speaking thus, a grievance is traceable to perceived non-fulfillment of ones expectations from the organization.


Causes of Grievance :
It is well known that the formally stated grievance is not always the real grievance. There may be a hidden reason, such as a problem supervisor, for instance, or an individual may have difficulty in relating to a work group with a totally different value system. The factors contributing to the grievance should be properly studied and analysed to ensure that in fact the expressed grievance represents the problem stated and not any other problem. The factors commonly found to contribute to employee grievances are: management practices, union practices and personality traits.

Management Practices:
The style of management followed, be it autocratic at one end of the scale or totally participative at the other, would need to be related to the socio cultural orientation of the workforce. For instance, the workforce may be composed of highly educated people who may dislike an autocratic style. In the present day context, the participative style is more favored. Thus, styles and practices would need to be adapted to the particular situational context. Many researchers have pointed out the social distance between management and workers, their class and cultural orientations being widely different. The managers attitude to the average worker, as someone who is on a much lower social scale, is based upon this. The usual India pattern is one of deference from the worker to the manager. In such a case, the grievance machinery would not work in the manner it is intended to as worker grievances would not be forthcoming. Much also depends on the implementation of personnel policies if the implementation falls short of the intended policy, then the resultant gap could give rise to grievances. Related to this is an ambiguity in personnel policies which may lead to grievances. It is often found that there are several instances when personnel matters are not clearly defined or clarified with the result those decisions taken thereon result in grievances. Matters such as employee compensation, seniority, overtime and assignment of personnel to shifts are illustrations of ambiguities leading to grievances. Such ambiguity


may be due to lack of policy, or faulty implementation, thus creating distortions which may not be justifiable. Poor communication between management and its employees is another cause of grievance. Often it turns out that what appears to be trivial and inconsequential to the management is important to workers. If workers, or other group of employees, are informed about proposed actions, such as new plant location, lay-off and merger, of farreaching decisions or about the introduction of new schemes or new ways of working, the employee will understand the consequences of such action better and, therefore, the number of grievances due to the lack of awareness may well be reduced. Lack of awareness creates uncertainty, causes tension and suspicion in the minds of workers consequentially breeding grievances. Supervisory practices are a major source of grievances. Much depends a supervisors attitude and behavior towards the workers. Supervisory styles which results in inconsistency in the application of personnel policies, partiality in applying rules and decisions, and laxity in condoning unions or employee to bypass him on issues it is his contracted responsibility to deal with, e.g. regarding job standards, grievance process, etc, all these could builds up pressures on individuals and could result in grievance if not an explosive industrial relations situation.

Union Practices:
In firms where there is a multiplicity of unions, many of whom may have political affiliation; there is constant jostling and lobbying for numerical strength and support. Where unions are formed on the basis of specialized crafts but are general unions, the pressure to survive is great and, hence, there is a need to gain the support of workers. Under such circumstances the grievance machinery could be an important vehicle for them to show their undeniable concern for workers welfare. The fact that a union can provide a voice for their grievances is a vital factor in motivating employees to join a union. Realizing that members expect action and only active unions can generate membership, unions sometimes are inclined to encourage the filing of grievances in order to demonstrate the advantage on union membership. It makes the union popular by proving that it is a force to be reckoned with and headed by the management.


There are also situations when unions, because they are unsure of strength vis-a-vis both management and workers, may want to encourage the filing of several grievances in order to assert their presence. This is especially so just before contract negotiations are take place and the various unions are lobbying to represent the workers.

Individual Personality Traits:

An individuals personality also has a bearing on the usage of the grievance machinery. Some are basically predisposed to grumble and find fault with every little matter, seeing and looking out only for faults. Sometimes mental tension, caused perhaps by ill health, also contributes to this, in the sense that a tense mind finds an outlet in voicing a spate of grievances. One the other hand, there are employees who are willing to overlook minor issues and discomforts and get on with the job.

Organizational Environment:
Not withstanding personality traits, the atmosphere or the culture that prevails could also contribute to this phenomenon. An antagonistic atmosphere could result in even a trivial matter being blown out of proportion, which in more cooperative times would not even have been noticed.

Sources of grievances:
Grievances may occur for a number of reasons

Economic: Wage fixation, over time, bonus, wage revision etc .employees may feel that they are paid less when compares to others. Work environment: Poor physical conditions of work place, tight production norms, defective tools and equipment, poor quality of materials unfair rules, lack of recognition, etc



Supervision: Relates to the attitudes of the supervisors towards the employee such as perceived notions of bias, favoritism, nepotism, caste affiliation, regional feeling, etc


Work group: Employee is unable to adjust with his colleagues; suffer from feeling of neglect, victimization and becomes an object of ridicule and humiliation etc.



Miscellaneous: These include issues relating to certain violation in respect of promotions, safety methods, transfer, disciplinary, norms granting leave, medical facilities etc.

Effects of Grievance:
Grievances, if they are not identified and redressed, may affect adversely the workers, managers and the organization. The effects are: On production:

Low quality of production and productivity. Increase in the wastage of material, spoilage/breakage of machinery. Increase in the cost of production per unit. Increases the rate of absenteeism and turnover. Reduces the level of commitment, sincerity and punctuality. Increase the incidence of accidents. Reduces the level of employee morale. Strains the superior-subordinate relations. Increases the degree of supervision, control and follow up. Contributes to disciplinary cases. Increase in employee unrest and conflicts.

On employees:

On managers:

Steps in the Grievance Procedure

a. Identify grievances: Employee dissatisfaction or grievance should be identified by

the management if they are not expressed. If they are ventilated, management has to promptly acknowledge them.
b. Define correctly: The management has to define the problem properly and

accurately after it is identified/acknowledged.

c. Collect data: Complete information should be collected from all the parties relating

to the grievance. Information should be classified as facts, data, opinions, etc.


d. Analyse and solve: The information should be analysed, alternative solutions to the

problem should be developed and the best solution should be selected.

e. Prompt redressal: The grievance should be redressed by implementing the solution

Implement and follow up: Implementation of the solution must be followed up at every stage in order to ensure effective and speedy implementation

Grievance Redressal Procedure

The primary value of a grievance procedure is that it can assist in minimizing discontent and dissatisfaction that may have adverse effects upon cooperation and productivity. There are several substantive reasons for having a formal grievance procedure. Grievance mechanism operates on the basis of sitting and establishing facts by raising probing questions such as Who? Why? When? Where? And What?. Emotional attitudes are pushed to the background though they could in the first instance have caused the grievance. The grievance procedure may be of an open-door type or of a step-ladder type. In an open-door policy the management asserts that no employees are prevented from going to it directly with his grievance properly attend to. This kind of open-door policy may be useful in the case of small units. In small businesses, the procedure may consists of a few lines in an employee manual. In a large organization however this would not be possible for the top man may have the time to attend to each grievance at a personal level. At the highest, some larger organizations may create an entire department dedicated to fielding complaints from employees. The grievance procedure may be regarded as supplying the psychotherapy of industrial relations. Small problems can be discussed and settled promptly before they become major and trouble some issues. Serious problems can be analyzed in a rational manner and resolved speedily, peacefully and in keeping with the terms of collective bargaining contract. A well-planned and well-administered grievance redressal procedure has certain advantages:


a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h. i.

It offers an opportunity to employees to process their grievances in a dignified manner. It satisfies the employees need of self-expression. It provides a vehicle for individual employees to express themselves. It builds up a communication channel which the employers can use to communicate with unions, especially in a situation where day-to-day relations have broken down. It improves man-management skills of managers at the various hierarchical levels by building up mature behaviuor. It helps management to locate problem areas in the union-management relations and to anticipate union demands. It strengthens union functioning and fosters understanding that facilitates negotiation. It indicates employees morale, their attitudes towards the management and the kind of problems they face in the work situation. It enables the management to understand the problems of the workforce and workplace, and helps to take corrective timely action.

Grievances must be settled as near as possible to the point of origin and on merit only. Hasty actions, without properly ascertaining facts, only help to aggravate the situation. Hence, it is better to have a systematic grievance redressal procedure which should (i) be simple, fair and easy to understand; (ii) encourage employees to put forth their grievances; (iii) function promptly and expeditiously; (iv) gain employee confidence, and (v) promote healthy relations between the employees and the company. In short, a sound grievance procedure can really strengthen the bonds between the management and the workers, can serve as an alarm bell if there is any problem of serious nature, and can prevent individual grievance from becoming an industrial dispute. It can also lead to better harmonious relations between the management and the workers; can prevent the union from exploiting and misguiding the workers, and can bring the conflicts into the open to resolve them. The number of steps in a grievance procedure may vary depending on the size of the company and the number of employees, usually from one-step to five-step grievance procedure. Smaller companies do not usually have a formal procedure to process grievances or may have less number of steps in the redressal procedure. A grievance


procedure should not operate in such a manner that it constantly leads to loss of production, extraordinary preoccupation or a climate of grievance-proneness. It should result in greater industrial peace. Improved inter-personal relations, more job satisfaction and serve the interests of employers and employees.

Model Grievance Procedure:

The Code of Discipline, adopted at the 16th session of Indian Labour Conference in the year of 1958, has highlighted the need for a model grievance procedure on an agreed basis. The principles and procedure which constitute the model are: 1. An aggrieved employee shall first present his grievance verbally in person to the officer designated by the management for this purpose. The answer shall be given within 48 hours; 2. If the worker is not satisfied with the decision, he shall be accompanied by a department representative to present his grievance to the head of the department, who has to settle the grievance within three days. Otherwise, he shall have to record reasons for the delay; 3. 4. In case the workman is not satisfied with the decision of the department head, he may request him to refer the case to the grievance committee; The committee considers the matter and makes its recommendations to the manager within seven days of receipt of the grievance. If this is delayed, reasons are to be recorded. Unanimous recommendations of the grievance committee shall be implemented by the management. Whether there is a unanimous decision by the committee or not, the aggrieved workman is entitled to know the decision through the personnel officer within three days of the receipt of the grievance committees recommendations; 5. If dissatisfied with the committees or the managers decision, the workman has a right of appeal to the higher tier of management for revision. The workman may take his union official along with him for discussion. The management has to inform him of its decision within a week. At any stage where the aggrieved person is not satisfied, he has to prefer an appeal within 72 hours of the receipt of the decision, or if no decision is reached the appeal is to be made on the expiry of the stipulated period; and



If the workman is still not satisfied with the decision of the management, the union may ask for voluntary arbitration in the matter. In case the management agrees, the matter is referred to an arbitrator whose decision is binding on both the parties. A properly constructed grievance procedure capped by arbitration should in principle render work stoppages unnecessary during the life of the agreement. Unions generally favour arbitration as the final step in disposing of unsettled grievances.

It is left to the union and the employer of a particular concern to draft the details of the procedure suiting local conditions keeping in mind the following principles; a. b. c. d. e. It should be prompt, well-defined, simple and time-bound. It should be settled at the lowest level of the grievance procedure. It should provide for reference of different types of grievances to appropriate authorities or bodies. It should be in conformity with the existing legislation. It should involve the union in framing a grievance procedure and in its implementation.

Model for Grievances Redressal Procedure for Staff and Officers in Central Public Sector Undertakings:
It has been noticed that whereas several forums, backed by legislation, are available to workers/workmen for redressal of grievances, an adequate mechanism does not exist in most of the public enterprises through which officers and other staff could make known their grievances and seek redress. A model Grievance Redressal procedure has now been formulated. This will cover all officers and staff of the Central public sector enterprises excluding employees who are deemed to be workers/workmen under the Factories Act, 1948/Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 or any other similar legislation applicable to such categories. Such Central public sector enterprises who are already having an established formal procedure which is working satisfactorily need not adopt the procedure indicated in the Model enclosed. However, adaptation may be made under special circumstances as those


obtaining in the Defence undertakings, organizations having several regional offices/projects, etc. The Ministry of Industry and Company Affairs, etc. are requested to advise the Public Enterprises under their administrative control to adopt the enclosed model procedure with or without modification as appropriate to the enterprise concerned. A copy of the grievance procedure so adopted by the enterprises may please be sent to the Bureau. 1. Objectives The objective of the grievance redressal procedure is to provide an easily accessible machinery for settlement of grievances and to adopt measures in Central Public Sector Undertakings as would ensure expeditious settlement of grievances of staff and officers leading to increased satisfaction on the job and resulting in improved productivity and efficiency of the organization.

2. Applicability The scheme will cover all staff and officers of the organisation except employees who are deemed to be workers/workmen under the Factories Act 1948/Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 or any other legislation applicable to such categories of employees. 3. Grievance Grievance for the purpose of this scheme would only mean a grievance relating to any staff member/officer arising out of the implementation of the policies/rules or decisions of the organization. It can include matters relating to leave, increment, acting arrangements, non-extension of benefits under rules, interpretation of Service Rules, etc., of an individual nature. 4. Procedure for handling grievances Subject to the above provisions, individual grievances of staff members and officers shall henceforth be processed and dealt within the following manner: 4.1 An aggrieved staff member or officer shall take up his grievance(s) orally with his immediate superior who will give a personal hearing and try to resolve the grievance(s) at his level within a week. 4.2 If the grievance is not satisfactorily redressed, the aggrieved staff member/officer may submit his grievance in writing to the Departmental Head


concerned or to the Personnel Officer/Manager as may be determined by the Chief Executive of the organization. Such Nominated Authority will record his comments on the representation within seven days, and if need be refer it to the Grievance Redressal Committee in case the grievance is not resolved or settled amicably. The recommendation of the Grievance Redressal Committee will be conveyed within one month to the Deciding Authority to be nominated by the Chief Executive and the decision of the Deciding Authority will be final, subject to the provisions contained in para 4.3 below. 4.3 In exceptional cases, with the concurrence of the Grievance Redressal Committee, the aggrieved staff member/officer whose grievance has been considered and is not satisfied with the decision of the Deciding Authority, will have an option to appeal either to the Director concerned or to the Chief Executive. A decision on such appeals will be taken within one month of the receipt of the appeal. The decision of the Director concerned or the Chief Executive, as the case may be, will be final and binding on the aggrieved staff member/officer and the management. 4.4 Grievances in respect of the following two categories of officers will not fall within the purview of the Grievance Redressal Committee. In their case, the procedure will be as under: i. In the case of officers who are one step below the Board level, the individual grievance may be taken up with the concerned Director. ii. Officers reporting directly to the Chief Executive may approach him for resolving their grievances. 5. Composition of the Redressal Committee The Chief Executive of the organization may determine the composition and tenure of the Grievance Redressal Committee. 5.1 In the case of multi-unit organizations the Chief Executive may constitute Grievance Committees at the Regional level and also nominate the Deciding Authorities. However, if the supervisors/officers in such Regional units are not satisfied with the decision of the Deciding Authority, then they may prefer an appeal to the Grievance Redressal Committee at the Headquarters. The committee should consider and take a decision on the grievances within a period of one month


failing which it should be brought to the notice of the Director (Personnel) or the Chief Executive of the organization. The Grievance Redressal Committee should meet at least once a month. 6. Overall guidance and conditions 6.1 The Staff member/officer shall bring up his grievance immediately and in any case within a period of 3 months of its occurrence. 6.2 If the grievance arises out of an order given by the management the said order shall be complied with before the staff member / officer concerned invokes the procedure laid down herein for redressal of his grievance. 6.3 Grievance pertaining to or arising out of the following shall not come under the purview of the grievance procedure: a. b. c. Annual performance appraisals/Confidential Reports; Promotions including DPCs minutes and decisions; Where the grievance does not relate to an individual employee or officer; and d. In the case of any grievance arising out of discharge or dismissal of a staff member or officer. 6.4 Grievances pertaining to or arising out of disciplinary action or appeal against such action shall be channeled to the competent authority as laid down under the Conduct, Discipline and Appeal Rules of the organization and in such cases the grievance redressal procedure will not apply. 6.5 All grievances referred to the Grievance Redressal Committee/ Director (Personnel)/Chief Executive shall be entered in a Register to be maintained for the purpose by the designated officer(s). The number of grievances, settled or pending, will be reported to the Chief Executive every month.

Advantages of having a Grievance Handling Procedure :

The following are some of the distinct advantages of having a grievances handling procedure.


a. b.

The management can know the employees feelings and opinions about the companys policies and practices. It can feel the pulse of the employees. With the existence of a grievance handling procedure, the employee gets a chance to ventilate his feelings. He can let off steam through an official channel. Certain problems of workers cannot be solved by first line supervisors, for these supervisors lack the expertise that the top management has, by virtue of their professional knowledge and experience.


It keeps a check on the supervisors attitude and behaviuor towards their subordinates. They are compelled to listen to subordinates patiently and sympathetically.


The morale of the employees will be high with the existence or proper grievance handling procedure. Employees can get their grievances redressed in a just manner.

Guidelines for Handling Grievances

The following guidelines may help a supervisor while dealing with grievances. He need not follow all these steps in every case. It is sufficient to keep these views in mind while handling grievances.

Treat each case as important and get the grievance in writing. Talk with the employee directly. Encourage him to speak the truth. Give him a patient hearing. Discuss in a private place. Ensure confidentiality, if necessary. Handle each case within a time frame. Examine company provisions in each ease. Identify violations, if any. Do not hold back the remedy if the company is wrong. Inform your superior about all grievances.

Get all relevant facts about the grievance. Examine the personal record of the aggrieved worker. See whether any witness is available. Vist the work area. The idea is to find where things have gone wrong and who is at fault.


Gather information from the union representative, what he has to say, what he wants, etc. Give short replies, uncovering the truth as well as provisions. Treat him properly.

Control your emotions, your remarks and behaviuor. Maintain proper records and follow and behaviuor. Be proactive, if possible. Companies like VSP, NALCO actually initiate workers to ventilate their grievances freely, listen to the other side patiently, explain the reasons why the problems arose and redress the grievances promptly.

Presentation of Grievances: Informal and formal presentation of grievances has their advantages and disadvantages. Informal treatment of grievances avoids the fear of bringing in writing and perpetuating the record of an employee being a chronic grievance against the management. But informal and oral handling tends to promote a feeling of inadequacy, less attention, and even inconsistent treatment. The recent trend in grievance handling has been towards formal procedures. It is the most common conflict management tool available to the employers. In practice, formal grievances get more serious attention than do informal complaints. The formal step provides for the grievances to be presented in a written form. The reason for writing is not to generate a bureaucratic culture but to inject a sense of responsibility. Most enterprises have written grievance procedures patterned after the India Labour Conference model and tailored to specific plant conditions. In exercising the right to present a grievance, the employee needs to be free from restraint or coercion. An aggrieved worker is likely to be emotionally upset and does not always feel capable of putting his problem before the superiors, even orally, much less in writing. In such cases, he should be assisted by a co-employee of his choice. The presentation of grievance to the first-line supervisor and its settlement at the level is very important, as most of the grievances are at the shop and workplace level. First-line management is more familiar with the workplace level. First-line management is more familiar with the workplace problem areas and so better capable of handling them. Moreover, grievance handling at the stop floor level gives meaning to the concept of industrial democracy.


A measure of success of the grievance redressal process is the extent to which grievances are settled with skill, fairness, understanding and good judgment. Emphasis is, therefore, placed for grievances being settled at the first stage. But there is gradual erosion in the front-line managers status and authority in grievance handling as a result of the increasing influence of unions on the shop floor, an uncertainty of advice and assistance from the specialist staff department. Moreover, at the first level, the foreman or supervisor is too frequently side-stepped. The long-term solution in this regard is to strengthen the first-line management level through training, guidance, involvement, support, delegation, feedback and review. Workplace grievances help the managers in learning the values of persuasion, compromise and hard realities of gaining co-operation from men of diverse interests. Front-line managers need to be trained to be factual and analytical in grievance handling and to investigate and not to evaluate any grievance. In the U.S.A. the National Labour Relations Board (NLRB) constituted under the National Labour Relations Act, 1935 (Wagner Act), provides that unions certified as exclusive bargaining agents must handle grievances of all employees, whether they are members or non-members, and must do so without charging any fee. The Act provides that any individual employee or group of employees shall have the right to present grievances to their employers. Most collective agreements in the United States provide for regular grievance procedure.

Role of Personnel Department:

Grievance handling is not the monopoly of a specialist or of a functional department. The role of personnel department in this regard should be: a. b. c. d. to devise a sound grievance procedure which could serve as an effective upward communication in the organization; to advise the line people about the importance of a sound grievance handling system and its implementation; to train the staff people, especially the front-line supervisors, in effective grievance handling and in counseling skills; to implement promptly the decisions taken by the grievance committee, and for that matter to maintain effective and close liaison with all concerned;


e. f. g.

to maintain records of the activities of the grievance committee such as detail of meetings held, actions taken and implemented; to take necessary follow-up action, review the procedure, and if necessary, modify the existing procedure to suit the changing circumstances; and to follow up individual cases of grievances settled and identify its effect on the concerned individual worker and its impact on other employees of the organization.

Evaluation of Grievance Redressal Machinery :

It is advisable for an organization to periodically evaluate its formal grievance procedures against three criteria: (i) the grievance rate; (ii) the settlement rate; and (iii) the settlement level. Pigors and Myers suggest the following test questions that a personnel administrator should ask if he is keen on evaluating the success of the redressal machinery on any given grievance: a. b. c. Was the case handled in such a way that the parties involved in it were able to identify, and agree upon, what was at stake? Was the incident closed with a sense of satisfaction on the part of everyone immediately involved in the original complaint? Was the case handled in a way that strengthened the line authority, especially at the level immediately above that at which the dissatisfaction was first expressed? d. e. Was there any spread of understanding and a better adjustment between the supervisor and his subordinate? Did the solution result in a better understanding, as a result of this case, to others in the management and in the union who were not directly involved in the original complaint? f. Did the solution contribute to operational efficiency?

Analysis of Grievance Date: An important parameter of sound grievance procedure is the maintenance and unkeeps of grievance data, the analysis and research of which helps to improve the performance of the grievance redressal machinery. It provides an insight into the group dynamics and informal; leadership patterns at the workplace. Constant monitoring and


interpretation of data can provide the management with valuable feedback. The grievance data should include 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. number of grievances; nature of grievances; grievances appealed to the highest level; the nature of decision-making at the first, second and third appellate levels, and grievances not finally closed.

Grievance Handling Machinery for Supervisors: The supervisor is as much a part of the work-group in an organization as any other work. He is the key person who functions as an effective link between those in management hierarchy and workers on the shop-floor. He draws strength from his skill, technical expertise and the acceptability he earns from workers. He is able to withstand the two-pronged thrust from management and workers solely on the basis of his own merits. The supervisor, however, neither has the protection which the workers under him enjoy, nor the economic security and sense of fulfillment which is generally associated with the senior managerial personnel. He often gets demoralized if his complaints and grievances are viewed with scepticism, or set aside with callous indifference by management. A formal grievance handling machinery for the supervisor personnel assumes importance particularly in organization employing a sizeable number of supervisors. Some of the frequently heard complaints from supervisors are related to decisions of the managers, stresses and strains of routine work, lack of appreciation of work done, absence of opportunities for career progression. A formal grievance handling machinery for supervisory personnel should consist of a suitably composed grievance committee. Terms or reference and area of authority for this committee should be clearly defined and made known to all.

Grievance and Industrial Relations :

The code of discipline, which was a voluntary, self-enforcing type of code formulated towards the end of 1958, suggested a grievance procedure. This was part of the strategy to promote good relations between employees and workers. Subsequently, as we have seen, the National Commission on Labour also made a similar suggestion and


suggested a model grievance procedure. It needs to be reiterated that the lack of grievance machinery will find an outlet, in one form of indiscipline or another over a period of time, or else cooperation will not be in line with managerial expectation, reflecting perhaps in the production/output. Hence the concern voiced by the two bodies mentioned. In fact, the Factories Act (1948) required the appointment of a lobour welfare officer in every firm of 500 or more employees. Responsibilities and duties pertaining to labour welfare and working conditions are spelt out in special rules issued by the state government under the Factories Act of 1948. The inspectorate is responsible for ensuring the observance and implementation of several provisions by management. It has subsequently to ensure that peace and harmony is maintained and that all consequent or related grievances are attended to promptly. The Factories Act, admittedly, has a limited scope in terms of welfare, working conditions and safety; mainly it is the responsibility of the inspectors to ensue compliance with the legislation, which in itself only sets the floor. In the absence of a formal grievance procedure, works committees also play a role in discussing and setting grievances. The establishment of works committees is a statutory requirement according to the Industrial Disputes Act of 1947. Formally, the main objective of the works committee was to discuss the day-to-day affairs of the plant which are of mutual interest to management and workers-production, working conditions, welfare, hours of work, etc. An atmosphere of cordiality and cooperation is facilitated through such mutual discussions of problems which may otherwise have precipitated a conflict situation. In the absence of an accepted grievance procedure, the culture of the plant may be such as to utilize the forum of either the Factories Act or the Industrial Disputes Acthowever limited their protective umbrella-to press their grievances. One of the problems in the Indian industrial relations scene is the lack of an appreciation of the distinct boundaries between the areas of grievance procedure, collective bargaining and workers participation in management. There is also the area of workers participation in management where there is much more of commonality in terms of discussion and joint participation on key issues which are situationally established between management and workers. This is a general framework to provide an understanding. In fact, there are several refinements, including consideration of collective bargaining as a form of workers participation, but these are issues of another kind. The point to note and understand is that if there is a


grievance machinery then many of the smaller and less important issues are settled by it, leaving the collective bargaining process to work in a harmonious atmosphere. One of the roles of the union is to aid and protect the individual worker in terms of his interest and problems. By joining a body such as a trade union the worker hopes, in fact, to get this kind of protection because in collective bargaining lies strength and protection for the individual. For instance, the worker realizes that as an individual grievance he would be given less attention than if it had the backing of the union, which in its larger representational and organizational strength could get more attention for his grievance. Grievances are best resolved on the basis of facts and not perceptions. There are grievances though which may not always be verifiable by recreating the situation and where, to some extent, the subjective element enters, thus giving way to perceptions. For instance, if management talks of an uncooperative attitude, this charge would remain a managerial perception as far as the worker/union is concerned, unless of course, it is substantiated by written notices issued to the employees over a time span. Thus, it is possible that individual grievances could lead to industrial disputes necessitating third party intervention such as conciliation or arbitration machinery of the government labour department. In trade unions where there is political affiliation and involvement or outside leadership, grievance processing and settlement become complicated. It has been fond that once parties other then those directly concerned get interested in any event the situation becomes worse and its solution is hard to find because of vested interest. Recommendations of the First NCL: The National Commission on Labour (19966-69) has given a statutory backing for the formulation of an effective grievance procedure which should be simple, flexible, less cumbrous, and more or less on the lines of the present Model Grievance Procedure. It should be time-bound and have a limited number of steps, say approach to the supervisor then to the departmental head, and thereafter a reference to the Grievance Committee consisting of management and union representatives. It should be made applicable to only those units which employ more than 100 workers. The right to redress grievances is provided for under the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 and the Rules framed there under.


The Industrial Disputes Act, 1982 has provided for a reference of certain individual disputes to grievance settlement authorities. Section 9C of the Act stipulates that in every establishment in which one hundred or more workmen are employed or have been in every establishment in which one hundred or more workmen are employed or have been employed on any day in the preceding twelve months, the employer shall set-up a timebound grievance redressal procedure. However, this particular provision has not come into force. A grievance procedure, whether formal or informal, statutory or voluntary, has to ensure that it gives a sense of satisfaction to the individual worker, a reasonable exercise of authority to the manager and an opportunity of participation to the unions. The introduction of unions in the grievance procedure is necessary because ultimately it is the union that is answerable to its members. It is also important that any procedure, to be effective, should be simple and have a provision for at least one appeal. A basic ingredient of the procedure should be that the total number or steps involved should limited; not more than four are generally envisaged even in the largest units. A grievance procedure should normally provide for three steps, namely, (a) approach to the immediate superior; (b) appeal to the department head/manager, and (c) appeal to the bipartite grievance committee representing management and the recognized union. The constitution of the committee should have a provision that in case no unanimous decision is possible, the unsettled grievance may be referred to an arbitrator.

GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE IN Visakhapatnam Port Trust

The following grievance procedure will be adopted for setting individual grievances, such as complaints affecting individual employees in respect of their salary payments, overtime allowance, leave, transfer, promotion, seniority, work assignment, working conditions and interpretation of service rules.


1. An aggrieved employee should present his grievance verbally in person or in writing to the section officer designated by head of the department for the purpose. The answer should be given by the officer concerned with in 3 days after the presentation of the complaint. 2. If the employee is not satisfied with the decision of the officer or fails to reply any answer, within the stipulated period, he shall whether in person or accompanied by co-employee, present his grievance to the head of the department, during the fixed time prescribed for presentation of grievance. The head of the department shall give his answer within 6 days of the presentation of the grievance. If action cannot be taken within that period reason for delay should be recorded. 3. If the decision of the head of the department is not acceptable, the aggrieved employee can submit his representation to the Dy. Chairman through the personnel officer. At this stage the employee can take the assistance of Trade Union for representation before the personnel officer. The personnel officer will process the matter and put up the case to deputy chairman within one week. The employee will be duly informed the decision of the Deputy Chairman in the matter within a fortnight. 4. The aggrieved employee or his representative shall have the right to access of document, which is relevant to the disposal of the employees grievance. However the head of the department shall have the right to refuse and show any such document or give any information, which he considers to be confidential nature. Such confidential document shall not be used again employee in the course of the grievance proceedings. 5. There shall be a time limit within which an appeal shall be taken from one stage to the other for this purpose, the aggrieved employee shall, within 3 days of receipt of the decision at one stage (or if no decision received, within the stipulated time) file his appeal with the authority at the next higher level should be feel inclined to appeal. In calculating the various time intervals of the above causes, public holidays shall not be reckoned. 6. If however there be any complaint against any section officer, who has designated by the head of the department to handle grievance at the lowest level, the employee


may take up his grievance at the next higher stage i.e. higher level of the head of the department. 7. The grievance procedure can be availed of on the receipt by the employee, in order to ensuring a grievance. The operation of the order, however, should not be held up till the above procedure is completely exhausted. 8. A grievance shall be presumed to assume the form of dispute only when the final decision of the Deputy Chairman through the personnel officer, is reported on the grievance and if the same is not acceptable to the employee. Then only the union will take up the issue.

6. Experimental Study On Grievance Redressal Management (with reference to Visakhapatnam Port Trust)
In view of the objectives of the project undertaken, various cases, i.e written complaints submitted to superior authorities for redressal are comprehensively studied. The cases, the issues in each case, grievance redressal procedure, consequent outcomes of the redressal, time taken for taking a decision by the authority in the step-ladder system, appeal provisions etc. Sum totally reflects the existing Greivance Redressal System in Visakhapatnam Port Trust. Considerable number of cases has been taken into study and few cases are reproduced here to highlight the practical aspects of the system and processes attached


with grievance redressal in Visakhapatnam Port Trust. For convenient understanding and to have a quick grasp of the complaint its nature, by when it is made, to whom it is addressed, the process involved and the decision taken in connection with the issues in the complaint, a brief sketch of each case highlighting the facts are the decision taken thereto produced here. Grievance (1) Facts of the Case: 1. This is a grievance from physically handicapped employees for exemption of payment of professional tax, espoused by the Union and addressed to the Chairman, Visakhapatnam Port Trust, and Visakhapatnam-requesting him for relief in this regard wide letter dated 19-10-07. 2. Based on the information that the physically handicapped employees with 40% and above disability of any kind or payment of professional tax, this letter in addressed for proper steps from the authorities. 3. Accordingly, upon receipt of the said written request for appropriate action, the accounts department wrote a letter to the Dy. Commissioner-Commercial Taxes Visakhapatnam, asking a clarification for further steps. Decision: Since, the above said issue is clarified in the consultation with the Deputy Commissioner of Commercial Taxes, Visakhapatnam, and upon a reply to the Secretary of Employee welfare Association, Visakhapatnam been issued by the Dy. Chairman, Visakhapatnam Port Trust to all HODs advising not to deduct professional tax from physically handicapped employees (40% above disability of any kind) category in their salary bill. Grievance (2) Facts of the Case: 1. 2. This is regarding non-supply of safety shoes to marine staff for the year 20062007 and for prompt steps. Even though the above issue in discussed and agreed by the authorities to supply the same, even after the same matter was discussed in the Deputy Conservator every month, as a response to the inaction of the authorities, the trade Union


(Visakhapatnam Port Employees Union) submitted this written complaint requesting further steps (Letter 29/01/2008). Decision: Materials management department has already initiated a tender for procurement of safety shoes to meet the current year requirements and now the same in under process and purchage order follows shortly. Hence in this connection the Dy. Chairman stated that the safety shoes are likely to be received with 1 to 2 months and accordingly they will be distributed to the concerned employees.

Grievance (3) Facts of the Case: 1. One lasker-Gr-I, (T&FC Sector), who worked in the II shift on 14-05-2007 was asked to continue in the III shift on mooring launch-5, by IMF on duty and Sr. Time keeper. 2. The said employee is entitled for OT and it was not reflected in his salary and hence required for arranging the same through his request addressed to the Deputy Conservator. 3. 4. Through he was assured of the payment, he has been paid of the same amount (Rs 786.75). In view of the above, a request in initiated from Visakhapatnam Port Employee Union for proper steps. Decision: The issue answered and case is disposed on 9/8/2007 by ordering payment of OT amount due to the employee for the work in III Shift 14/08/2007. Redressed at department level. Grievance (4) Facts of the Case: 1. 2. This is an application with reference to filling up of the post of time keeper in M.C. Complex. The vacancy of time keeper caused due to medical invalidation of the incumbent in M.C. Complex.



It is to be filled and the Visakhapatnam Port Employees Union submitted a letter of request to the Chief Mechanical Engineer to fill the position with a checker working in OHC as time keeper, since he is the senior most employees for promotion to the said post.


Concurrent to this, one more employee who is working as store issuer in electrical maintenance section requested to put him in the post of time keeper in M.C. Complex.

Decision: As per the procedure and recruitment rules, the employee (checker in OHC) and who is also recommended by the Union, is aptly the senior most employee for promotion to the post of time keeper in M.C. Complex. Accordingly promotion order is prepared officially and yet to be issued. It is learnt that one employee, who is working as sore issuer in electrical maintenance section since six months, asked for reversion to the post of checker which is not admissible under rules as per fundamental rules. If any employee who is in the line of promotion refused promotion by the management cannot accept giving unwillingness it. After working for six months as store issuer he cannot be reverted, as checker is violation of the fundamental rules. Hence this candidature is not considered.

1) Are you aware that there is a grievance procedure in VPT? a) Yes b) No c) No Comments 2) Do you consider that the grievance redressal system is functioning effectively? a) Strongly agree b) Satisfactory c) Disagree


3) Have you come across any grievance so far? a) Many times b) Once/ Twice c) Never 4) In getting redressed of any grievance, you would prefer to approach directly to Management, Trade union of Legal forum? a) Direct Submission to Management b) Trade Union c) Legal Forum 5) Are you aware that there is an established open door policy/ personal hearing for grievance redressal system? a) Yes b) No c) No comments 6) Do you consider that the open door policy is effective in grievance redressal? a) Satisfactory b) Normal c) Cannot say 7) Is it appropriate to directly approach the legal forum in getting the grievance redressed, ignoring the preliminary forum? a) Strongly disagree b) Agree c) Cannot say 8) Even the well educated employee prefers to approach the Trade unions in order to get their grievance redressed. What is the reason? a) Belief in trade union b) Inadequate knowledge in rules and regulations c) Shifting the burden on others


9) Are trade unions playing vital role in grievance redressal of their employees? a) True b) False c) To some extent 10) Do you think that there should be Benchmarking in grievance mechanism? a) Absolutely b) Cannot say c) No need 11) Is there any public grievance system in VPT apart from employee grievance redressal? a) Yes b) No c) Cannot say 12) Do co-employees extend their cooperation at times of grievances of aggrieved employees? a) Always b) Some times c) Never 13) Employee consultation and cooperation in the modern concepts of HR management is developing an employee friendly environment. a) Most useful b) Reasonably useful c) No comments 14) Now-a-days grievance redressal is on the active mode in the public sector undertakings. a) Fully agree b) Disagree c) Initial stages


15) Would you prefer to offer valuable suggestions for an effective grievance procedure in VPT? a) Yes b) No c) No comment

Question was posed to 25 employees working in the Vishakhapatnam Port Trust whether they are aware of the grievance management procedure prevailing in their organization. The response given by the employees is shown below.

Response Yes No No comments

No. of respondents 25 0 0

% of

respondents 100 0 0



120 100 Response 80 60 40 20 0 Yes No No Comments No. of respondants/ % of the respondants in total sam ple size % of respondents


Response Strongly agree Satisfactory Disagree

No. of respondents 16 8 1

% of respondents 64 32 4



70 60 Response 50 40 30 20 10 0 Strongly agree Satisfactory Disagree No. of respondants/ % of the respondants in total sample size No. of respondants % of respondants


Response Many times Once/ Twice Never

No. of respondents 2 18 5

% of respondents 8 72 20



80 70 60 Response 50 40 30 20 10 0 Many times Once/ Twice Never No. of respondants/ % of the respondants in total sample size No. of respondants % of respondants


Response Direct submission to Management Trade Union Legal For a

No. of respondents 3 20 2

% of respondents 12 80 8



100 80 Response 60 40 20 0 Diect submission to Management Trade Union Legal For a No. of respondants % of respondants

No. of respondants/ % of the respondants in total sample size


Response Yes No No comments

No. of respondents 18 5 2

% of respondents 72 20 8


80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Yes No No comments No. of respondants/ % of the respondants in total sample size


No. of respondants % of respondants


Response Satisfactory Normal Cannot say

No. of respondents 10 15 0

% of respondents 40 60 0



70 60 Response 50 40 30 20 10 0 Satisfactory Normal Cannot say No. of respondants/ % of the respondants in total sample size No. of respondents % of respondents


Response Strongly Disagree Agree Cannot say

No. of respondents 16 1 8

% of respondents 64 4 32



70 60 Response 50 40 30 20 10 0 Strongly Disagree Agree Cannot say No. of respondants/ % of the respondants in total sample size No. of respondents % of respondents


Response Belief in Trade unions Inadequate knowledge on rules Shifting the burden on others

No. of respondents 17 8 0

% of respondents 68 32 0



80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Belief in Trade unions Inadequate knowledge Shifting the burden on on rules others No. of respondants/ % of the respondants in total sample size


No. of respondents % of respondents



Response TRUE FALSE To some extent

No. of respondents 20 1 4

% of respondents 80 4 16


100 80 Response 60 40 20 0 TRUE FALSE To some extent No. of respondants/ % of the respondants in total sample size No. of respondents % of respondents



Response Absolutely Cannot say No need

No. of respondents 16 2 7

% of respondents 64 8 28


70 60 Response 50 40 30 20 10 0 Absolutely Cannot say No need No. of respondants/ % of the respondants in total sample size No. of respondents % of respondents



Response Yes No Cannot say

No. of respondents 0 23 2

% of respondents 0 92 8


100 80 Response 60 40 20 0 Yes No Cannot say No. of respondants/ % of the respondants in total sample size No. of respondents % of respondents



Response Always Sometimes Never

No. of respondents 19 4 2

% of respondents 76 16 8


80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Always Sometimes Never No. of respondants/ % of the respondants in total sample size


No. of respondents % of respondents



Response Most useful Reasonably useful No comment

No. of respondents 10 12 2

% of respondents 40 48 12


60 50 Response 40 30 20 10 0 Most usefull Reasonably usefull No comment No. of respondants/ % of the respondants in total sample size No. of respondents % of respondents



Response Fully Agree Disagree Initial Stages

No. of respondents 12 10 3

% of respondents 48 40 12


60 50 Response 40 30 20 10 0 Fully Agree Disagree Initial Stages No. of respondants/ % of the respondants in total sample size No. of respondents % of respondents



1. 2. 3. Visakhapatnam Port Trust has involved a scientific grievance redressal procedure and it has proved it effectiveness in meting the redressal management needs. The procedure is detailed, specific, clear precise and understandable. Time delay in redressing the grievances is clearly observed and the same can be concluded from the information gathered in various cases, wherein remedies are already provided. Significantly, the procedure has provided power to the authorities to discriminate between what is a valid complaint and which is a frivolous one. This mechanism, obviously restrains mushroom growth of complaints and it invites self-scrutiny on the part of employee who is trying to lodge a complaint.

It is no surprise that, delay is common in redressal of the grievances and that too in very big organizations like Visakhapatnam Port Trust it is not a big issue to discuss. Still the esteemed organization may initiate steps to speedup the decision making process to render remedies fastly.


1. Essentials of Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations Dr. P. Subba Rao 2. Personnal Management C. B. Mamoria 3. Industrial Relations Arun Monappa 4. Industrial Relations A.M Sharma 5. Human Resource Management V.S.P. Rao Library (Visakhapatnam Port Trust), personnel Department of Visakhapatnam Port Trust.