MNO3713 Management of Employee Relations
The Project Covers The Following Topics:
1.Introduction to Tripartism in Singapore
2.Dynamics of collective bargaining
3.Effective management of grievances and disputes
It is an individual assignment designed to provide you with the opportunity to apply and integrate your knowledge on the concept and theories of employee relations management through crafting of a written report.
2. Learning Outcomes
After the completion of this project, learners will be able to:
1.Explain the concept of Tripartism, as well as the role and activities of employers, trade unions and the government in industrial relations.
2.Examine the foundations of effective collective bargaining.
3.Review the importance of effective grievance handling in dispute settlement.
Learners are required to research, analyse and provide feasible recommendations to enable a company to achieve good employee relations management under the given scenario/requirements in the case study in Appendix 1. The report should include:
1.Cover Page — Include a cover page with the project title, name and admission number, tutorial group and name of tutor.
2.Introduction to Concept of Tripartism — Review the role and relationships of the three parties in Singapore’s industrial relations system.
3.Review the effectiveness of grievance handling in dispute settlement — Apply the concepts learnt to assess and comment on the company’s handling of employee relations following the incident in the case study.
4.Conclusion and Recommendations — Suggest any THREE (3) ways that could improve employee relations at the company mentioned in the case study.
5.Appendices — Sources of research data or any other supporting resources.
early so that they can make any necessary resubmission before the submission deadline expires.
Case Study On Spirit Island Pte Ltd
Spirit Island Pte Ltd (“Spirit Island”) is one of Singaporean’s leading wine and spirits distribution company. It currently owns 20 retail stores across Singapore and is known for being the trusted source and people’s choice in wine and spirit selection. It’s unique selling point is their ‘Price Beat Guarantee’, where if the customer can find a similar wine or spirit with another retailer at a cheaper price, Spirit Island will beat it by 10%.
The company has also been a hot favourite for special occasions as they offer consignment sales and other flexible options to consumers. As the company derives their revenue from sales of liquor, majority of its employees are mainly sales staff who help to drive Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) sales.
The Liquor and Allied Workers Union (“LAWU”) is an industrial union that represents employees in sales and distribution of alcoholic beverage products. It has a membership base of over 50,000 members in 25 branches. LAWU’s membership base also include employees who work in the support and administrative functions of a liquor distribution company. As a union with members in the highly competitive industry known for irregular hours of work (e.g. late night business entertainment and socialisation to push sales), LAWU aims to constantly improve the well-being and working conditions of its members, while enhancing their employability and capability by encouraging ongoing skills upgrading in line with evolving occupational demands.
LAWU and the Spirit Island management recently signed the LAWU-Spirit Island Collective Agreement 2020, which saw notable enhancements such as the introduction of a $500 annual training grant for all Spirit Island-LAWU members, a job grade-based entertainment allowance system, and a guaranteed 0.5-month variable bonus to be paid to all non-managerial Spirit Island staff, on top of the 13th-month Annual Wage Supplement (AWS) and any other company and individual performance bonuses. It is stated in the agreement that AWS and bonuses are pro¬rated for any incomplete year of service by an eligible employee.
Incident On 1 April 2021
On 1 April 2020, Joelle Ting, a new Sales Executive with Spirit Island who had just completed an official 2-week company training regime of sales techniques, was tasked to secure an exclusive deal with the new and upcoming KTV chain Hi-Fun Karoake (“Hi-Fun”), together with her assigned mentor Alfred Woo.
As she had zero field experience, she approached Alfred for tips on how he became Spirit Island’s top sales personnel. Alfred shared with her that besides employing essential persuasion skills, he would sometimes offer incentives to the client — e.g. giving his monthly entertainment allowance to the client for up to a year, as the commission and performance bonus from hitting sales target was way more than what he was offering to the client. It would still be a win-win situation for him and the company as a whole.
Alfred told Joelle that this was a common practice amongst top sales personnel and that the company has closed an eye to it since it brings in the revenue they want. When asked if he had any other tips, Alfred told Joelle that she just needs to get used to “being groped occasionally” by clients. Alfred told Joelle that he was unable to attend the appointment with her as he had prior commitments with another client, and that she alone would be able to close the deal with his tips.
Employing the sales techniques learnt from official company training, Joelle managed to secure an exclusive deal with Hi-Fun that night without using any of the tips Alfred gave. Joelle felt that even though she completed her assigned task and hit her sales target for the month, she was concerned with the tips that Alfred has shared with her. Joelle approached HR department the next morning to check if the advice given by Alfred was appropriate and actually used by sales staff in general.
Actions Taken By The Company And Union
Following the report by Joelle, investigations were carried out by a Board of Inquiry (B01) panel appointed by Spirit Island’s management. A short email was sent to LAWU informing the union that “an investigation is ongoing regarding a whistle blowing incident”. Within a week, the BOI panel (consisting of the Spirit Island’s General Manager, Finance Director, and HR Director) identified the following lapses:
1.Joelle Ting, without any field experience, should not have been allowed to meet a client without the presence of her assigned buddy, Alfred Woo.
2.Besides Joelle’s statement of Alfred’s tips, neither were there CCTV footage or witness to show that Alfred was the one who told her the incorrect way of closing a deal, nor were there any evidence of his advice in writing.
3.There was no evidence of inappropriate dealings by top sales executives. Alfred denied all related allegations. All other top sales executives who were interviewed during the inquiry denied of such practices in the company as well.
Following the BOI’s findings, Joelle was deemed by the management to have committed a breach of work ethics, where she tried to sabotage her fellow colleagues. Joelle was subsequently issued a final warning letter, with accompanying notice that she would be ineligible for all bonuses and AWS in this financial year.
Due to lack of evidence that Alfred had imparted wrong sales technique to Joelle, and that there were no witnesses to her allegations, Alfred was issued a verbal caution, for slacking off his job and not accompanying his assigned mentee on her field trip.
Following the actions of the company, Joelle felt that HR and top management were simply in cahoots with Alfred in the interest of maintaining questionable sales ethics and silencing any potential whistle blowers. She was just trying to find out if the advice from Alfred was appropriate with no intention of sabotaging her colleagues. Joelle felt victimised as she was outcasted by her colleagues following the incident and proceeded to approach LAWU.
Joelle shared with the Union that several co¬workers had come up to her to share that they have heard of such possible malpractices before, but such claims have always been dismissed by the company without thorough investigations on the facade of lack of evidence when in fact, the company just doesn’t want to lose their top revenue generators. Upon realising quickly that Spirit Island management was not open at all to negotiating the matter as this was deemed by the company as “a breach of work ethics”, LAWU submitted a notice to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) requesting conciliation.
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