Question 1 (25 marks)
Gilbert and his wife run a thriving medium-sized retail business in Stellenbosch. Leza, their daughter, is having a disagreement with Joe, the company’s manager. They have differing views on the management styles that the organization should employ. Leza believes that competitive groups should engage in social dialogue and coordination. Together with state involvement, this social dialogue should seek to minimize and better manage any conflict between employers and employees. She believes that centralized bargaining on basic values such as wages and working conditions eliminates the potential for numerous destructive workplace conflicts and that social dialogue should take place at least between the state, employer organizations, and trade unions so that power is shared.
Joe, the company’s manager believes that employees should have power, which means that all power should be given to the workers. He believes that management’s ability to wield significant power over employees and unions must be limited. He believes that conflict between the classes, namely capitalist and labour, is unavoidable, and that the power of organized workers is sufficient to balance the inherent advantage of the employer in the employment relationship. He believes that strikes should be considered necessary to address power imbalances between employers and employees, as well as to raise awareness of these divisions among all employees.
Identify and explain the relevant labour relations perspectives/concepts that Leza and Joe adopted in the scenario above.
Question 2 (9 marks)
Identify the ways in which the South African Constitution has influenced South African labour relations.
Super clean (Pty) Ltd, a facilities management company that offers cleaning and security services, has several business goals, including the following: ‘Grow the brand in a socially and economically effective manner in order to obtain a significant market share in the Eastern Cape province’. The company’s annual revenue is currently estimated to be R4 million. The organisation’s management recently discovered that provincial government tenders in the Eastern Cape are primarily awarded to organizations with a very high broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) rating. As a result of the very high BBBEE requirement, very few facilities management companies in the Eastern Cape submit tenders to the provincial government. Super clean (Pty) Ltd are BBBEE compliant, with a level two (2) rating (85 to 99.99 points – 125% procurement).
Explain to Super Clean (Pty) Ltd the purpose of the Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment Act 53 of 2003 and the elements that companies are evaluated on to determine BBBEE compliance. Conclude by indicating whether Super Clean (Pty) Ltd is eligible to do business with the provincial government of Eastern Cape, as an organ of the state.
Abanqobi Workers Union (AWU) is a registered union that advocates for mine workers’ rights in Rustenburg. The trade union has been fighting for the rights of mine workers who have been underrepresented in expressing their pay raise demands. The desire to mitigate the negative effects that many workers have experienced as a result of the higher living costs resulting from the economic aftereffects of COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine.
Assume you are a Abanqobi Workers Union (AWU) shop steward or representative, and employees of Sibanye Mine in Rustenburg approaches you for advice. They want to know what goals your union has in terms of “securing decent work” for its members, as well as your responsibilities as a shop steward.
Advise the employees by listing the Abanqobi Workers Union’s goals for “securing decent work” for its members. (5 marks)
Assume you are a Abanqobi Workers Union (AWU) shop steward; explain your duties as a trade union shop steward to Sibanye Mine employees. (12 marks)
Lawrence is employed by the Berry Consulting Group Incorporated. Lawrence is permitted to join a trade union because it allows him to express his diverse interests within the organization and he is allowed to strike in terms of the law. Berry Consulting Group clearly has a policy that power and authority are not centred on one individual, but rather spread among a variety of stakeholders, there is no power structure. Lawrence once had a disagreement with his boss, Adam, and the conflict was settled to the satisfaction of all parties involved (negotiated trade-offs and settlement). Berry Consulting Group Inc. encourages all employees to freely express their opinions and is willing to compromise.
Indicate whether Berry Consulting Group’s management strategy is unitarist or pluralist in light of the facts presented above. Apply the relevant approach to the above-mentioned scenario to thoroughly motivate your answer.
Fashions Icons Clothing, a well-known clothing, and textiles retailer, displayed a TV advertisement that was perceived as indirectly racist by the public and its employees, as the advertisement depicted people of colour as monkeys. The Amandla union, which represents Fashions Icons Clothing employees and the general public who were displeased with the advertisement, urged consumers to refrain from purchasing Fashions Icons products. The Amandla union also ordered Fashions Icons employees to stop working until the advertisement was removed and an apology was issued for the indirect racism.
Identify and explain how the union might gain or maintain power in relation to the scenario.
Gerrit works for a large corporation as an underwater welder. He has recently joined the Steel and Metal Workers Union in order to have his health and safety concerns represented. Gerrit understands that there is risk involved in underwater welding; this risk is increased when welding is required to be done at extreme depths, and the company for which he works does not provide the necessary protection and pressure monitoring equipment to reduce the risk of injury or death. Gerrit wants to know how the trade union will assist him as a member in obtaining appropriate protective equipment to ensure a relatively healthy and safe working environment.
Explain how the Steel and Metal Workers Union would provide Gerrit with the necessary support he requires
Answers to Above Questions on Employee Relations and Labour Law
An analysis of the given scenario indicates that there have been disagreements with respect to the labour relations between Leza and Joe. They both have different perspectives of maintaining relationships with employees in the organisation. The viewpoint of Leza indicates that the power is centralised in the hands of management, whereas Joe is of the viewpoint that power should be decentralised and given to workers. This indicates that the viewpoint of Leza can be categorised into a pluralistic labour relations perspective whereas the viewpoint of Joe can be categorised as Marxist perspective.
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