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 “ grievance is any dissatisfaction or feeling of
injustice in connection with one’s employment
situation that is brought to the notice of
 “a grievance is any dissatisfaction whether
expressed or not, arising out of anything
connected with the company which an
employee thinks, believes or even feels to be
unfair, or unjust.”

 According to ILO :-

“ grievance is a complaint of one or more

workers related to :-
 Wages and allowance
 Conditions of work
 Leaves, transfer, promotion, seniority, and job
assignment & termination of service.”

Difference between …
Anything that disturbs an employees, whether or not such unrest is expressed
in words.

It is written or verbal dissatisfaction, brought to the attention of the supervisor
and the union leader. The complaint may or may not specially assign a
cause for dissatisfaction.

It is simply a complaint which has been formally presented in writing, to a
management representative or a union official.

Grievance …

Management policies :- Working conditions :-

 Wages rates  Poor safety and bad physical conditions

 Leave policy  Unavailability of tools and proper
 Over time machinery
 Lack of career planning  Negative approach to discipline
 Role conflicts  Unrealistic targets
 Lack of regards for collective agreement
 Disparity between skill of worker and job

Violation of rules and regulations :-

Inter –personal factors :-

•Organizational rules and regulations
•Past practices
•Poor relationships with team members
•Autocratic leadership style of superiors •Procedure of collective bargaining.
•Poor relations with seniors
•Conflicts with peers and colleagues
Types of Grievances …
An individual grievance is a complaint brought forward by a single employee
in which a decision made affects that specific employee.

A group grievance is a complaint brought forward which concerns more than
one employee grieving.

A policy grievance is a dispute involving a question of general application or
interpretation of any article of the collective agreement rather than the
direct management action involving a particular employee.

If you Receive an Employee Grievance ...

First and foremost…

 Don’t panic!
 Hold your temper!
 Take charge!
 Consider the possibility of early settlement…

Essential pre- requisites of a grievance
 Conformity with statutory provisions
Due consideration must be given to the prevailing legislation while designing the grievance handling
 Unambiguity
Every aspect of the grievance handling procedure should be clear and unbiguous. All employees should
know whom to approach first when they have grievance, whether the complain should be written, or
verbal, the maximum time in which the redressal is assured, etc.
 Promptness
The grievance of employees should be promptly handled and necessary action must be taken
 Training
The supervisors and the union representatives should be properly trained in all aspects of grievance
handling beforehand or else it will complicate the problem.
 Follow- up
The personnel department should keep track to the effectiveness and the functioning of the grievance
handling procedure and make necessary changes from time to time.

Purpose of the Grievance Procedure …
 Allow union members to appeal decisions and resolve problems
 Allow employees to voice concerns regarding:
 Interpretation of Agreement
 Application of Agreement
 Compliance with Agreement
 Corrective Action
 Past Practice
 Mutuality (known by both parties)
 Consistency
 Bridge Effect (more than one contract)
 The contract is silent (practice cannot contradict contract)
 Keep lines of communication open

Grievance Timelines …
Refer to the appropriate union contract article/section titled
“Grievance Procedure” for the applicable time limits for
receiving and responding to grievances.

Also note:
Any grievance not answered within the time limits
specified shall be submitted to the next step (Union).

Any grievance not appealed to the next succeeding step

in writing within the time limits specified will be considered
withdrawn and not eligible for further appeal

Preliminary step of grievance
handling …
Open door policy
Under this policy, the aggrieved employees/workers are free to meet the top
executives of the organization and get the grievances redressed.

Step- ladder policy

under this policy, the aggrieved employees/ workers has to follow a step by step
procedure for getting his grievance redressed. In this procedure, whenever an
employee is confronted with a grievance, he present his problem to his
immediate supervisor. If the employee is not satisfied with superior’s decision,
then he discusses his grievance with the departmental head. The departmental
head discusses the problem with joint grievance committees to find a solution.
However, if the committee also fails to redress the grievance, then it may be
referred to chief executive. If the chief executive also fails to redress the
grievance, then such a grievance is referred to voluntary arbitration.
grievance handling model …

Benefits of Early Settlement …
At any point during the grievance process, the parties can
agree to an early settlement. The benefits include:

 Quick resolution
 Employee frustration avoided
 Supervisor credibility
 Union credibility
 Respect of employees gained
 Prolonged conflict avoided
 “Local” control maintained

Steps in the Grievance Process …
The number of steps in the grievance process differ according to
the union involved, but each contain the following:

 Oral Grievance
 Written Grievance
 Grievance Advanced to Employee/Labor Relations
 Arbitration

1-Steps in the Grievance Process …

 Employee presents oral grievance to

immediate supervisor within timeframe
specified in Agreement.
 Supervisor provides written response to the
oral grievance within timeframe specified in

2 -Steps in the Grievance Process …

If the oral grievance is not satisfactory adjusted:

 The union staff representative can submit the grievance in writing
to the department head on a standard grievance form signed by
the employee.
 The grievance must be submitted in writing within the timeframe
specified in the Agreement.
 The department will arrange a grievance meeting between the
department head and the grievant, union staff representatives.
 The Department shall submit a written response to the grievance
within timeframe specified in Agreement.
3-Steps in the Grievance
Process …

If the matter is not satisfactorily adjusted in the previous (written) step, or

an answer is not given within the time specified:
 The written grievance previously submitted shall be forwarded to
Employee/Labor Relations within the timeframe specified in the
 Employee/Labor Relations will arrange a grievance hearing meeting
with the union staff representative, the aggrieved employee and
 Employee/Labor Relations will arrange a meeting prior to the actual
grievance hearing for the purpose of preparation (management).
 Employee/Labor Relations shall reply to the grievance within the
timeframe specified in the Agreement.
Preparing for a Grievance …
 Investigate the complaint and organize the case
before the meeting by determining the following:
 Who is involved?
 When did the incident occur?
 What are the circumstances?
 What was the impact to the operation/business as a
result of the situation/incident?
 What remedy is the grievant seeking?

Conducting the Grievance Meeting …

 Discuss the matter rationally:

 Review the grievance with the grievant and the

 Do not bargain with the grievant or the steward.
 Be certain that you have all of the information you
need before responding.
 Do not respond to a demand for an “instant” answer.
A possible exception is a matter of health and/or

Preparing the Grievance Response

 Adhere to the timeline for your response.

 Provide an answer that is concise and complete.
Brevity is important. If you need help in
providing an answer, obtain assistance from
Employee/Labor Relations.
 Obtain acknowledgement of receipt of your
answer from the grievant/steward, including time
and date.

Preparing for Grievance Meeting with
Employee/Labor Relations …
Employee/Labor Relations will facilitate the process at this
step. The process includes:
 Schedule ‘prep’ meeting with the department/management
before the date of grievance meeting.
 Serve as hearing officer.
 Determine who should be involved in the meeting,
including identifying any witnesses.
 Determine what information must be captured on record.
 Discuss the format of the grievance meeting.
 Provide written response.

4 –Arbitration …
If the matter is not satisfactorily adjusted in the
previous step (Employee/Labor Relations), or an
answer is not given within the time specified, the
union may, by written notice, request the grievance
be advanced to an arbitrator.

Arbitration is a method of settling disputes through an

impartial third party whose decision is final and

Arbitration cont…
Preparing for the Arbitration Hearing:

 Once an Arbitration hearing date has been

determined, the department will meet with
Employee/Labor Relations and the
organization’s legal representative to fully
‘prep’ for the hearing.

Arbitration cont…
The Arbitration Hearing:

 The Union presents their case first if it is a

non-disciplinary matter. Otherwise, the
Employer goes first.
 The burden of proof is on the Union for all
issues except discipline. Otherwise, the
burden is on the Employer.
Arbitration cont…
Arbitration as a last resort:

 A quasi-judicial process
 Gives arbitrator power to issue a decision/award which
may result in:
 a win-lose situation
 an Arbitrator-crafted decision
 Parties lose control of dispute resolution
 Costly
Effective Grievance procedure …
 Know your time limit
 Resolve grievances at lowest possible step
 Keep the grievant informed about the status of the
 Publicize grievances
 Use bulletin boards if possible
 Keep written records of all grievances (including the
grievance fact sheet and the grievance form)
 Understand the value of grievances beyond the
correction of immediate justice.