Friday November 24, 2017
For the road ahead

Grievance (Dispute Resolution)

Guide to Dispute Resolution

Individual Grievance (Click to open - then click ‘print' or ‘save' dependant on what you wish to do)
Collective Grievance (Click to open - follow the same instructions as above for all links on this page)

If you have a problem at work one of the most frustrating things can be finding a solution to the issue. Often management are too busy "getting the job done" to care for your issues, regardless of how minor or major they may be.

In any case the first port of call should always be your line manager. Always try to resolve the issue with them first. This will occasionally lead to a better outcome and save you time spent in meetings.

If your issue is with your line manager it may be better for you to speak with his superior, however this is not always easy given that in our industry management teams are often as thick as thieves.

Should your line manager not reply in good time (I would usually say 7 days is enough) or you don't feel comfortable approaching them or their superior, then the next step is the ‘Grievance Process'.

Many workers remember the days when a grievance submission meant your life was to be made a living hell. For the most part those days are fortunately well and truly behind us. More than ever those that stick up for themselves are the ones left to their own devices - keeping your head down and getting the job done doesn't win you any prize except more s**t it seems nowadays.

A grievance is nothing more than a formal dispute resolution request. It is you simply asking for a meeting with your management team to discuss your issue, AND at this hearing you are entitled to representation from your local steward or regional officer (or any other competent trade union official).

Grievance letters can take many guises, however simplicity is often best as clarity always assists in resolving the problem quickly and easily.

All that needs to be contained in a grievance form is the following:

1. Your name

2. Date of submission

3. What your grievance is about

4. Your desired outcome

  • Don't worry about the language being ‘legal' or technical, just write what you're unhappy about and why 
  • This is your chance to write what you think will solve the problem or what you want as a result of this process
  • Try to keep your request realistic and if you're claiming any form of discrimination it's best you don't say ‘loads of £££'
  • If you don't know what the solution is then don't worry, you can put that you don't know the best way to solve the problem and hopefully find an agreement in your hearing
  • Alternatively, you can call your regional officer or speak to your shop steward to seek suggestions

 

Once your grievance form is completed you need to ascertain who is best placed to receive the grievance. Generally the best department to receive it is human resources, however not all companies have such a department, in which case you should send it to the senior person you feel most capable of dealing with the situation.

What will happen next is that you will receive written confirmation of your grievance, at which point you should notify whomever is accompanying you of the proposed time and date. As ever, don't worry if your companion cannot make it on that date, your company should be allowing time to arrange a date suitable for all. 

At the hearing you will be asked to outline your grievance and submit any evidence relating to it. Ideally it is best to submit your evidence prior to the hearing to save time. Your companion may state your case for you, however they cannot answer questions on your behalf. Often managers will try and prevent your companion from talking, if that occurs you can inform the manager that you wish for you companion to speak on your behalf. It may be pertinent to carry a copy of THESE (Click to open) pages of the Employment Relations Act 1996 which details the rights of you and your companion; in addition THIS (Click to open) page of the ACAS Guide to Discipline and Grievances at Work will assist in helping the hearing chair understand your companion's role.

Once the hearing is done the conducting manager will need to retire to consider your grievance. It's possible that this may take some time depending on the amount of evidence you've provided, however it's best not to leave the issue open-ended - try to agree a date that the outcome must be provided by.

Time is the biggest killer of resolving issues. Managers are more than aware that given enough delays many workers will resign themselves to the issues not being resolved and forget all about it. Once a company knows that you will not follow your issue through to its full conclusion they will often believe they can get away with anything; this may seem somewhat extreme, but as a Union we see issues that continue to build and cost our members time and money through failing to follow the grievance process to its very end.

Remember, the grievance process is often your only tool to fight back, and if you can't be arsed to stick with it then nobody else will be able to on your behalf.

Collective Grievance

If you are the representative of a group of members you may submit what is known as a ‘collective grievance'.

The steps that this method of dispute resolution takes is almost entirely the same as an individual grievance, however this is also the basis of a ‘dispute', which could end up with action such as the withdrawal of labour (strike action). In essence both avenues of action are exactly the same except collective action can potentially end in collective action, whilst individual action may end in the individual taking further steps such as lodging a claim with an employment tribunal.

As with any advice in this section of the URTU website, if you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact your regional officer.

Regards,

Alexander Harris (Region 7)


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