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Industrial Relations (HRM109) Module Outline


Office Number 3


A sound understanding of complex employment relationships in a dynamic environment is

critical to the effective management of contemporary organisations. This course introduces
students to the theoretical foundations of industrial relations at enterprise, industry and national
levels. The course looks at the origins and the development of industrial relations up to the
present time. More specifically the course considers the social, political, economic and legal
factors that have shaped IR landscape in Zimbabwe, the course looks at the various IR players
such as trade unions, the state and management and employers' associations in terms of their
goals, organisation and strategies. The course conclude by looking at important IR processes
such as CB, grievance and disciplinary procedures.

At the end of the module students should understand:

 Industrial relations as a social phenomenon which should not be viewed in isolation from
the wider context
 The role played by the Government/State in employment relationship, Management as
both a process and a distinct group within the organisation; employee representation at
the workplace, trade unions.
 Collective bargaining as a process through which employees seek to regulate the
employment relationship with management
 The differences in concept, strategy and from between employee involvement and
employee participation
 How employees exert power through industrial action
 Importance of bringing in independent third parties for help in resolving their differences
and also understand the differences between mediation, conciliation and arbitration
 Importance of negotiation in determination of the employment relationship
 The process for resolving grievances and disputes, causes of employee dissatisfaction, its
forms of expression and its relationship to collective bargaining.


 The nature of the formal grievance and disciplinary process

Course Content

1. Introduction to Industrial Relations

- Definition of industrial Relations
- IR as a field of study and IR as field of practice

2. The Employment Relationship

- Nature of the Employment Relationship,
- The Employment Contract (origins, types, elements etc.)
- The Concepts of Power, Conflict and Job Regulation.
- Implications on the study of Industrial Relations

3. Perspectives/Approaches to Industrial Relations

- Unitarism
- Pluralism
- Marxism
- State Corporatism

4. Context of Industrial Relations

- The political economy of IR in Zimbabwe

5. History of Industrial Relations in Zimbabwe

6. Concepts and Values in Industrial Relations

6.1 Fairness and Equity

6.2 Power and Authority
6.3 Individualism and collectivism
6.4 Rights and Responsibilities

7. Participants in Industrial Relations

- Trade Unions- History of Tus in Zimbabwe, Goals, Strategies and Organisation.
Trade Unions as Political Institutions
- The State , The government as an employer, the government’s regulatory function,
auxiliary function and economic management function,
- Management/Capital – Managerial prerogative, the profit motive, control strategies
and employer organisations

8. Representation and Institutions at the Workplace

- Workers Committees
- Works Councils
- Joint Decision Making Bodies

- Employment Councils

9. Negotiation and Collective bargaining

- Types of Bargaining
- Functions of Bargaining
- Management and Trade Union roles in bargaining
- Contemporary issues in Collective Bargaining

10. Employee involvement and participation (Employee Voice)

11. Industrial action

10.1 Functions and forms of Industrial Action

10.2 Legal Framework and processes

12. Alternative Dispute Resolution

a) Conciliation
b) Arbitration
c) Litigation

13. Grievance, Discipline and Redundancy Procedures

Ackers, P & A. Wilkinson. (2003). Understanding Work and Employment: Industrial Relations in
Transition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Blyton P., Turnbull P, (1994), the Dynamics of Employee Relations, MacMillan Publishing
Farnham, D. (1997). Employee Relations in Context. London: Institute of Personnel &
Flanders, A. (1975) Management and Unions: The Theory and Reform of Industrial Relations,
Faber and Faber, London.
Fraser, S (1998). Is democracy good for unions? Dissent 45 (Summer.), 33-39.
Frenkel, S.J. and Coolican, A., Unions against Capitalism? A Sociological Comparison of the
Australian Building and Metal Workers’ Union, George Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1984.
Freeman R. B, and Medoff J., (1979), The two faces of unionism., Public Interest, no. 57, Fall,
pp. 69-93. ,

Gwisai M, (2006), Labour and Employment Law in Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Labour Centre,
Hyman, R. (2008). “The State in Industrial Relations.” In Paul Blyton, Nick Bacon, Jack Fiorito,
and Edmund Heery, eds., The Handbook of Industrial Relations. London: Sage, pp. 258–83
Kelly, J. (1998). Rethinking Industrial Relations: Mobilization, collectivism and long waves.
London: Routledge.
Kelly, J. (ed.) (2002) Industrial Relations: Critical Perspectives on Business and Management.
Volume, 1-1V. New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.
Labour Act, (2006), Government Printers, Harare
Machingambi, I. (2006) A Guide to Labour Law in Zimbabwe. Beta Printers, Harare
Mugumisi S,(18 Nov 2009), Collective Bargaining: lessons form from 2009 focusing at 2010
and Regional Trends, Paper presented at the IPMZ Labour Briefing in Harare.
Murnighan, K. (1991), Dynamics of Bargaining Game, Englewood Cliffs, M.J.: Prentice Hall
Ramsay, H., “Industrial Democracy and the Question of Control”, in Davis, E. and Lansbury,
R. (Eds), Democracy and Control in the Workplace, Longman Cheshire, Melbourne, 1986.
Schiphorst F.B, (2001), Strength & Weakness: the rise of ZCTU and the development of Labour
relations (1980-1995)
Swanepoel et al, (2007), South African Employment Relations, Van Schaik Publishers, Pretoria
Taxler.F, (2009), The Economic Effects of Collective Bargaining Coverage: A cross national
analysis, ILO, Geneva
Salamon M (1998). Industrial relations Theory and Practice 3rd Edition. Prentice Hall. London
Sibanda, A. and Nyamukapa, D. (Ed) (2000) Industrial Relations and Structural Adjustment
Programs in Africa, Zimbabwe Industrial Relations Association, Harare.


1. With reference to the Zimbabwean and South African experience discuss the view that
trade unions are involved in politics out of necessity.
2. To what extent do you believe that the government policies such as “easy of doing
business” and “Zimbabwe is open for business” are capitalist agendas leading to worker
3. Assess the adequacy of the Labour Act (Chapter 28.01) in protecting women against all
forms of discrimination
4. Are workers’ personal and family issues important matters for enterprise bargaining?
5. The aims of the Labour Act are to promote “social justice and workplace democracy”. To
what extent have these aims been achieved
6. Discuss the theoretical foundations underpinning Zimbabwean labour legislation
amendments post 1990.
7. ‘The definition of Industrial Relations as an institution of job regulation represents a
narrow framework for the study of the subject.’ Discuss.

8. Discuss the ‘Iron Law of Oligarchy’ and its relevance to trade union democracy.

9. ‘A contract of employment is a way of controlling the labour process.’ Discuss.

10. “.....unceasing power struggle is therefore the central feature of Industrial

Relations…..”Hyman (1975:26). Discuss.

11. Examine the roles of actors in Industrial Relations.

12. Discuss the impact of globalisation on Industrial Relations in Zimbabwe.

13. ‘Most employee voice arrangements are not genuine forms of participation’. Discuss.
14. Explore the types and sources of managerial power in Industrial Relations.

15. Discuss the contention that, ‘Conflict is always inherent in Industrial Relations.’

16. Explore the factors that encourage and discourage some employees from joining trade
17. Evaluate trade union democracy and the factors that are likely to impinge on it in the
contemporary business world.
18. Discuss various strategies employed by Trade Unions and/or Management to exert
greater control over work processes
19. “The biggest threat to trade unions existence is the HRM agenda” Discuss
20. Can the State ever be considered an independent player in industrial Relations?
21. There can be no equilibrium in industrial relations without a freedom to strike. Discuss
22. Assess the degree of influence that political and economic factors have shaped the
character and content industrial relations legislation in Zimbabwe since the 1980s
23. Are unions becoming increasingly irrelevant in modern society?

Defining Industrial Relations

Industrial relations are a subject so difficult in defining with precision. Just like any other discipline,
Industrial relations as a discipline is founded in the history of other disciplines including economics,
sociology, psychology, history, engineering, law, religion, etc. Attempts to define Industrial Relations
included the works of Flanders (1965) on Job Regulation, Dunlop (1958) with systems approach, Clegg
(1979), Salamon (1998,2000), Hyman (1975), Bendix (2003) etc. Today Industrial Relations can be
identified as Work Relations, Employee Relations, Employment Relations, and Labour Relations among
others. Some of the definitions include;“…the study of industrial relations is the study of institutions of
job regulation…” Flanders (1968), “…industrial relations refer to the study of processes of control over
work relations…” Hyman (1975), “…Employee relations are the contemporary term for the field of study
which analyses how the employment relationship between employers and employees is organized and
practiced…’ Farnham (2002), “…Employee Relations are a set of human resource practices that seek to
secure commitment and compliance with organisational goals and standards through the involvement of
employees in decision making and by managerial disciplinary action…” Bratton and Gold (2003), “…the
collective aspects of relationships between the workforce and management...” Blyton & Turnbull (1994),
“…The study of rules governing employment together with the ways in which rules are changed
interpreted and administered…” Clegg (1979)

Significance of Industrial Relations

Maintenance of harmonious industrials relations is on vital importance for the survival and growth of the
industrials enterprise. Good industrial relations result in increased efficiency and hence prosperity,
reduced turnover and other tangible benefits to the organization. The significance of industrial relations
can be summarized as below:
1. It establishes industrial democracy: Industrial relations means settling employees problems through
collective bargaining, mutual cooperation and mutual agreement amongst the parties i.e., management
and employees’ unions. This helps in establishing industrial democracy in the organization which
motivates them to contribute their best to the growth and prosperity of the organization.
2. It contributes to economic growth and development: Good industrial relations lead to increased
efficiency and hence higher productivity and income. This will result in economic development of the
3. It improves morale of the work force: Good industrial relations, built-in mutual cooperation and
common agreed approach motivate one to contribute one’s best, result in higher productivity and
hence income, give more job satisfaction and help improve the morale of the workers.
4. It ensures optimum use of scare resources: Good and harmonious industrial relations create a sense of
belongingness and group-cohesiveness among workers, and also a congenial environment resulting in
less industrial unrest, grievances and disputes. This will ensure optimum use of resources, both
human and materials, eliminating all types of wastage.
5. It discourages unfair practices on the part of both management and unions: Industrial relations
involve setting up machinery to solve problems confronted by management and employees through

mutual agreement to which both these parties are bound. This results in banning of the unfair
practices being used by employers or trade unions.
6. It prompts enactment of sound labour legislation: Industrial relations necessitate passing of certain
labour laws to protect and promote the welfare of labour and safeguard interests of all the parties
against unfair means or practices.
7. It facilitates change: Good industrial relations help in improvement of cooperation, team work,
performance and productivity and hence in taking full advantages of modern inventions, innovations
and other scientific and technological advances. It helps the work force to adjust themselves to
change easily and quickly
Causes of Poor Industrial Relations
Perhaps the main cause or source of poor industrial relations resulting in inefficiency and labour unrest is
mental laziness on the part of both management and labour. Management is not sufficiently concerned to
ascertain the causes of inefficiency and unrest following the laissez-faire policy, until it is faced with
strikes and more serious unrest. Even with regard to methods of work, management does not bother to
devise the best method but leaves it mainly to the subordinates to work it out for themselves. Contempt on
the part of the employers towards the workers is another major cause. However, the following are briefly
the causes of poor industrial relations:
 Mental inertia on the part of management and labour;
 An intolerant attitude of contempt of contempt towards the workers on the part of management.
 Inadequate fixation of wage or wage structure;
 Unhealthy working conditions;
 Indiscipline;
 Lack of human relations skill on the part of supervisors and other managers;
 Desire on the part of the workers for higher bonus or DA and the corresponding desire of the
employers to give as little as possible;
 Inappropriate introduction of automation without providing the right climate;
 Unduly heavy workloads;
 Inadequate welfare facilities;
 Dispute on sharing the gains of productivity;
 Unfair labour practices, like victimization and undue dismissal
 Retrenchment, dismissals and lock-outs on the part of management and strikes on the part of the
 Inter-union rivalries; and
 General economic and political environment, such as rising prices, strikes by others, and general
indiscipline having their effect on the employees’ attitudes.
Objectives of Industrial Relations
 To bring better understanding and cooperation between employers and workers.
 To establish a proper channel of communication between workers and management.
 To ensure constructive contribution of trade unions.
 To avoid industrial conflicts and to maintain harmonious relations.
 To safeguard the interest of workers and the management.
 To work in the direction of establishing and maintaining industrial democracy.

 To ensure workers’ participation in decision-making.
 To increase the morale and discipline of workers.
 To ensure better working conditions, living conditions and reasonable wages.
 To develop employees to adapt themselves for technological, social and economic changes.
 To make positive contributions for the economic development of the country.

Scope of Industrial Relations

The scope of industrial relations includes all aspects of relationships such as bringing cordial and healthy
labour management relations, creating industrial peace and developing industrial democracy.
The cordial and healthy labour management relations could be brought in-
 by safeguarding the interest of the workers;
 by fixing reasonable wages;
 by providing good working conditions;
 by providing other social security measures……………………………..;
 by maintaining healthy trade unions;
 By collective bargaining.
The industrial peace could be attained –
 by setting industrial disputes through mutual understanding and agreement;
 by utilizing various ADR mechanisms such as conciliation, arbitration, collective bargaining etc.
The industrial democracy could be achieved –
 by allowing workers to take part in management; and
 by recognition of human rights.
 For more reference, see S2A of the Labor Act, Purpose of the Act

The Employment Relationship
 This is an exchange relationship in the sense that the parties exchange or trade specific tangible and
intangible elements.
 With regards to the tangibles, the employee offers his/her labour (from a hard point of view) which
includes his/her skills, knowledge, abilities and experience among other things in return for a salary/
wage and the associated benefits.
 At the level of the intangibles, the employee offers their commitment, loyalty, subordination (from a
soft point of view) with the expectation that the employer will offer job security (or in its absence,
employability security), recognition, job satisfaction, opportunities for career advancement etc.
 This relationship may also be understood as the bedrock of conflicts because of the divergence of
interests between the parties to it.
 It is generally argued that the employer is much concerned with issues of controlling the relationship,
whilst the employee is concerned with care, which, at a psychological level become the hub of
industrial conflicts.
 Employer-worker relations are organised principally around the contract of employment.
 This forms the background of the study of industrial relations
 A contract of employment begins when one party (the employee) offers to render their services of a
defined nature in return for a fixed, or ascertainable form of remuneration, and the other party
(employer) offers to remunerate for services rendered.
 Contract may or may not be written
 Breach of contract can lead to unfair labour practice or unfair dismissal
 Express Agreement – are terms which are spelled out
 Implied will result from what is understood to have been the intention of the parties. This could be
from the fact that it’s so obvious that it need not be stated

Terms implied in every contract (Pitt, 2000)

 To pay wages if an employee is available for work
 To provide work in certain specified circumstances
 To co operate with employee in that employee will not be treated in a manner that will destroy mutual
trust and confidence
 To take reasonable care for the reasonable care for the health and safety of the employee
 To be faithful to the employer and not engage in actions that cause conflict of interest
 To take reasonable care in the performance of his or her duties
In the absence of express terms, “custom and practice” may help to define what constitutes the
employment contracts. Custom and practice has to be reasonable – reasonable by fitting the “norms” of
the industry in question. Custom and practice should not be interpreted in a substantially different ways
by different people, but should be well known by all those whom it relates

Express Terms of a Contract

 These are enunciated in Section 12 of the Labour Act (Duration, Particulars and Termination of
Employment Contracts)
 Here it is provided that:
“…Every person who is employed by or working for any other person and receiving or entitled to
receive any remuneration in respect of such employment or work shall be deemed to be under a
contract of employment with that other person, whether such contract is reduced to writing or
not…” (Refer to the Labour Act)

Sources of Contract Terms

 Minimum Statutory Standards

 Express statements of the parties to the contracts
 Collective agreements
 Organizational rules
 Custom and practice
 Common law and duties of employers
 Common law and duties of employees

Psychological Contract

 It refers to the expectations of the employer and the employee that operate in addition to the formal
contract of employment
 It has been defined by Rousseau (1994) cited by Hiltrop (1995:287) as “the understanding people
have regarding the commitments made between themselves and their organisation.”
 It therefore, is concerned with each party’s perception of what the other party to the employment
relationship owes them over and above that which may be specified in the contract of employment.
 The contract is not clear as to the content and because it is based on perceptions, it is not written
 Mullins (1996) points out that there is a continuous process of balancing and explicit and implicit
bargaining over the contract content and more over that the individual and the organisation may not
be aware consciously of the contract “terms”. However, these terms affect their behaviour and
 One of the aspects of the psychological contract that has gained prominence over the years is the
traditional employee perception that the organisation promises a “job for life” (examples) in return for
employee loyalty and commitment. This is still practiced if we take the case of local government,
civil service and parastatals.
 Some jobs are fast changing in terms of nature and content hence driving a twist of the psychological
contract for example, the changes in the banking sector. The coming in of IT to replace people has
shifted people’s expectations and hence the psychological contract.
 Organisations now need managers that are less experienced, more commercially aware, more
energetic, and they could be easily obtained, and retained, more cheaply than their predecessors.
 Research reviewed by Sparrow (2000) highlights the changing nature of the organisation of work and
its implications on the psychological contract, e.g., experiences of redundancy, for example, are often
viewed by the older workers as a violation of the psychological contract, and are significantly related

to their adoption of personal responsibility for their career development (Sparrow 2000) also issues of
termination or grows of incapacitation, etc.
 Herriot and Pemberton (1995) argued that the psychological contract has moved from one that is
relational- based on mutual trust and commitment- to one that is transactional- based upon mutual
instrumentality of the work- effort- reward bargain.
 It demonstrates a shift from focus on job security on the part of employees towards employability
 According to Hiltrop (1995:289) in the new type of psychological contract “there is no job security.
The employee will be employed as long as s (he) adds value to the organisation and is personally
responsible for finding new ways to add value. In return the employee has the right to demand
interesting and important work has the freedom and resources to perform it well, receives extra pay
that reflect his/her contribution and gets the experience and training needed to be employable here or

Characteristics of the ‘old’ and new Psychological Contract: Hiltrop (1995:290)

Characteristic Old New

Focus of the E/R Security and long term Employability to cope with
careers in the company changes with this and future
Format Structured and predictable Flexible and unpredictable
Duration Permanent Variable
Underlying principle Influenced by tradition Drive by market forces
Intended output Loyalty and commitment Value added
Employer’s key Fair pay for a fair day’s work High pay for job performance
Employee’s key Good performance in present Making a difference to the
responsibility job organisation
Employer’s key input Stable income and career Opportunities for self
Employee’s key input Time and effort Knowledge and skills
 So the contract is based on the theory of reciprocation/ exchange theory by Cox and Parkinson
(1999), where individuals make an investment with expectations that an appropriate reward will be

Question: Discuss the implications for the conduct of the employment relationship when the
psychological contract is broken.

Industrial Relations Perspectives (Fox, 1973)

1. Unitarism
 It assumes that an organisation is or should be, an integrated group of people with a single
authority/loyalty structure, and a set of common values, interests and objectives shared by all
members of the organisation.
 The management prerogative (that is, the right for management to manage and make
decisions) is regarded as legitimate and rational and accepted and any opposition to it
(whether formal or informal, internal or external) is seen as irrational.
 The underlying assumption therefore is that, the organizational system is in basic harmony
and conflict is unnecessary and exceptional.
 Conflict, when it does arise, is believed to be primarily frictional rather than structural in
nature and caused by such factors as clashes of personalities within the organisation, poor
communication by management of its plans and decisions, lack of understanding on the part
of the employees that management decisions and actions are made for the good of all in the
 The use of coercion (including law) is legitimate in the use of managerial power. In other
words, management does not perceive a need given the legitimacy of its prerogative, to
obtain consent of employees to decisions or changes.

 At the same time, management concentrate on a Human Relations Approach improving
interpersonal relations and communications within the organisation) or make appeals to the
loyalty of employees.
 Trade unions are seen to be an historical anachronism, and with the coming of HRM, are no
longer necessary to protect employees interests.
 Even though management are forced to accept the existence of trade unions in the
determination of terms and conditions of employment (market leaders), they are certainly
reluctant to concede any role for trade unions in the exercise of authority and decision making
and decision making within the organisation (managerial relations).
 They (trade unions) are most likely to be seen as little more than a political power vehicle
used by militant minority in order to subvert the existing and legitimate political, social and
economic structure of society
 The Unitarist system has one source of authority and one focus of loyalty, which is why it
suggests the team analogy
 What pattern of behaviour do we expect from members of a successful and healthily
functioning team?
 We expect then to strive jointly towards a common objective, each pulling his weight to the
best of their ability (tits out).
 Each accepts his place and function gladly, following the leadership of one so appointed.
 There are no opposition groups/functions, and therefore no rival leaders within the team.
 Nor are they any outside it, the team stands alone, its members owing allegiance to their own
leaders but not o others.
 If the members have an obligation of loyalty towards the leaders, the obligation is
reciprocated, for it is the duty of the leader to act in such ways as to inspire the loyalty he
 Morale and success are closely connected and rest heavily upon personal relationships.
 Most of us will agree that the unitary perspective represents a vision of what industry ought
to be like which is widespread among employers, top managers and substantial sections of
outside public opinion. The vision is closest to a professional football team, for here,
combined with the team structure and its associated loyalties; one finds a substantial measure
of managerial prerogative at the top in the persons of the manager, trainer or board members.
 Team spirit and undivided management authority co-exist for the benefit of all.
2. Pluralism
 The perspective views society as being post-capitalist in nature, a relatively wide distribution
of authority and power within the society, a separation of ownership from management, a
separation, acceptance and institutionalization of political and industrial conflict.
 Organisations are viewed as coalition of individuals with contrasting interests, objectives and
leadership. According to Fox (1973), the organisation is multi-structured and competitive in
terms of groupings, leadership, authority and loyalty and this gives rise to a complex of
tensions and competing claims which have to be managed in the interests of maintaining a
viable collaborative structure.
 Conflict is perceived to be both rational and inevitable. It results from individual and
organizational factors (structurally determined) and different roles of managerial and
employee groups. (Management objectives include efficiency, productivity and profitability
whilst for employees working conditions, better pay, job and employability securities are

 Because of such divergence of interests, the issue of power and authority to control the
production process become fundamental. The resolution of conflict is characterized by the
need to establish acceptable procedures and institutions which achieve collaboration through
comprehensive, codified systems and negotiated regulation.
 There has to be an acceptance of the need for shared decision making, the legitimacy of
management’s role is not automatic but must be sought by and maintained by management
itself ‘management by consent” rather than “management by right”.
 Trade unions are seen to provide a countervailing power of management and therefore are
seen as legitimate.
 Such legitimacy, according to Fox (ibid) is founded not just on industrial power or
management acceptance, but on social values which recognize the right of interest groups to
combine and have an effective voice in their own destiny.
3. Marxism
 Concentrates on the nature of the capitalist society surrounding organisations, where Hyman
(1975) argues, “the production system is privately owned…., profit is the key influence on
Company policy…., and control over production is enforced downwards by the owner’s
managerial agents…”
 Marxist general theory argues that: (1) class/group conflict is the source of societal change,
without it, the society will stagnate (2) class conflict arises primarily from the disparity in the
distribution of, and access to, economic power within society – the principal disparity being
between those who own capital and those who supply their labour (3) the nature of the
society’s social and political institutions is derived from this economic disparity and
reinforces the position of the dominant establishment group, for example, through differential
access to education, the media, employment in government and other establishment bodies.
 Social and political conflict in whatever form is merely an expression of the underlying
economic conflict within the society.
 It is seen as a reflection of not just organizational demands and tensions, but the economic
and social divisions within society between those whose who own and manage means of
production and those who have their labour for sale.
 Therefore it is continuous, unavoidable and synonymous with political and social conflict.
 Employers do not need to exercise their full industrial power by closing plants and
withdrawing their capital, the implicit threat that they have such power is sufficient to balance
any direct collective power exercised by trade unions.
 The social and political institutions within society supports the intrinsic position of
management, employees through the influence of education and the mass media, become
socialized into accepting the existing system and role of management.
 An attack on the institutions of job regulation provides only a limited temporary
accommodation of the inherent and fundamental divisions within capitalist based work and
social structure.
 Trade union growth becomes inevitable as a response to a system of capitalism.

 Harbison and Myers (1959) give a general definition of management -
(i) Management as a technical resource - which refers to management as those having the
functional expertise in the enterprise.

(ii) Management as a system of government, of authority - by which policy is translated into
effective action.
(iii) Management as an elite group - exercising power in society via family, educational,
political or professional links.

 The planning, organizing, leading and controlling of resources to achieve organizational goals
effectively and efficiently
Origins of Management
 Employer’s rights are today generally exercised by managers
 Pollard attributed that the industrial revolution provides evidence of the origins of
 Writers such as Braverman argue that initial managers were recruited from the family of
business people
 This is necessary to keep control of business, but in the growing size of businesses nepotism
was quickly replaced by merit
 This provides an insight into modern ownership and control and becomes the real underlying
factor in terms of management into the ranks of owners
 The managerial prerogative, which are the managements rights and functions are asserted to
derive property rights
 Managerial rights are the right to decide what to be done, when, where, and by whom.
 Managers act as legal trustees to the owners of property

Managerial Prerogative

Management Control Strategies

 Is the process through which plans are implemented and objectives achieved by setting standards
of measuring performance, comparing the actual performance against the target and then putting
up corrective actions
 Strategies adopted by management are based on ways of thinking about the employment
 They include a pluralist view which asserts that a potential conflict defines the employment
relationship due to differences in the interests of the stakeholders
 Blighton and Turnbull (1998) forwarded that the employment relationship is founded on the
principles of structured antagonism
 most of them enter the employment relationship not because they want but for economic reasons
hence management control becomes important
 management devise ways of making people do what they want to do

Friedman (1977)
 talks of two types of strategies which managers use to exercise authority over labour power
namely responsible autonomy and direct control
 Responsible Autonomy mobilizes labour power by giving employees an opportunity to have
control over the work situation (being responsible citizens) in a manner that is beneficial to the
whole organisation
 It includes such elements such as employee involvement and participation, delegation of authority
and empowerment.

 Direct Control on the other hand involves close supervision of employees, a harsher regime of
discipline characterized by threats of pay reduction or dismissal
 This approach owes much to Taylorism and Scientific Management which has some of the
elements as reflected by Morgen (1986)

Helrigel and Slocum (1978)

 Identify 3 common strategies used by managers, that is
i. Control through Organizational Structure
ii. Control through Recruitment and Training
iii. Control through Rewards and Punishment
iv. Control through Policies and Rules
v. Control through budgets
vi. Control through machinery

Managerial Styles in an Employment Relationship

Style Characteristics

Traditional Fire fighting approach, ER not important until there is trouble, Low pay, hostile unions,
authoritarian, typical of small owner managed businesses
Paternalistic Unions regarded as unnecessary because of employer’s enlightenment. Concentrating on
getting employees to identify with business objectives
Consultative Union participation encouraged through recognition. Problem solving informal approach to
employee relations. Emphasis on two way communication
Constitutiona Emphasis is on formal agreements to regulate relationship between two powerful protagonists
Opportunist Large Companies devolving ER to subsidiaries, no common approach emphasis on unit

Trade Unions

Students should at the end of the lecture be able to: -

 Define a trade union,
 Distinguish the types of trade unions citing examples,
 List and explain the functions of trade unions,
 Trace the genealogy of trade unions in Zimbabwe and Britain among other cases,
 Account for the factors that have led to the rise and fall of trade unions in Zimbabwe since the
pre-independence period to date,
 Clearly demonstrate their understanding of the structure and organization of trade unions, citing
local examples,
 Demonstrate understanding of trade union democracy and shortcomings thereof,
 Assess the contemporary issues on trade unions including the factors that are likely to influence
the future of trade unions locally and abroad.
Definition of Trade Unions

 The Webbs (1920:11) define a trade union as, “a continuous association of wage earners for the
purposes of maintaining or improving conditions of their working lives”
 Salamon (1998) define it as “any organisation whose membership consists of employees which
seeks to organize and represent their interests both in the workplace and society and in particular,
seeks to regulate the direct process of Collective Bargaining with management”
 The legal definition of trade unions (according to The Act) “any association or organization
formed to represent or advance the interests of any employees or class thereof in respect of their
 According to the towers, trade unions are more than engines for converting bargaining power into
improved pay and conditions for their members, …they are an integral part of the system on
checks and balances which is composed of capitalist liberal democracies, as according to
Salamon (1998)

The goal of the Labour Movement (Flanders, 1970)

 Allan Flanders in his book Management and Unions (1970) has attempted to provide perspectives
on the reasons for existence of labor movements and this summary explains it;
"This question "What are trade unions for?" might be called the George Woodcock question.
He has raised it repeatedly in recent years, but the answer is slow in coming and still remains
more of a hope than a happening. There is in fact great confusion today about the purpose of
trade unions. This affects attitudes to their future and what should be their legal and social
rights and obligations in present-day society, as well as their own decisions on policy and
organisation. No less an authority than Professor Galbraith has stated that unions in the
future will "have a drastically reduced function in the industrial system" and "will retreat more
or less permanently into the shadows". And his is not a lone voice. Trade unions are
increasingly made the target of many criticisms. Much of this may be unfair, but the unions
themselves rarely bother to state their own case in persuasive terms.

"I would like first to reject two views of union purpose which merely mislead. They are poles
apart but they have this in common. Those who hold them believe they know more about what
trade unions are for than the unions and their members know themselves.

"The first is the Marxist view. Admittedly it has many different shapes and variations and,
since all its advocates claim to be offering the one true interpretation of the one true gospel,
they are often violently at odds with each other. Most of them, however, would subscribe to an
exposition by the editor of the New Left Review -
"As institutions, trade unions do not challenge the existence of society based on a division of
classes, they merely express it. Thus trade unions can never be viable vehicles of advance
towards socialism in themselves; by their nature they are tied to capitalism. They can bargain
within society but not transform it.
"From this it follows that the inevitable limits of trade union action must be overcame with the
help of a revolutionary movement or party which -• to continue quoting from the same essay -
"must include intellectuals and petit bourgeois who alone can provide the essential theory of
socialism", Why? Because - "Culture in a capitalist society is ...... a prerogative of privileged
strata; only if some members of these strata go over to the cause of working class can a
revolutionary movement be born".

"Ignoring for a moment the conceit in this statement, I would not dispute the point that trade
unions are not a substitute for political parties, be they revolutionary or reformist, workers do
not join unions because they think alike and share the same political outlook. They do so for
the sake of gaining immediate improvements in their lot which only come from collective
action. Their unity, that completeness of the organisation of trade unions which is the
foundation of their strength, must always be imperilled when they import political faction
fights. Unions may decide by a majority to support a particular political party - as many in
this country have decided to affiliate with the Labour Party - but this is another matter. It
reflects no more than recognition that they must engage in politics as well as the best strategy
because it produces the best results.
"What I find so objectionable as well as invalid in the Marxist view is its implicit contempt for
"pure and simple" trade unionism.

"Trade unions, by doggedly sticking to their immediate ends and refusing to be captured and
exploited by any-political party, have gradually transformed society. Only not according from
the sacred texts or the dialectical laws! That they may be right in preferring reform to
revolution and unity to discord never crosses the mind of those whose theory tells them all the
"I do not deny that socialism, as someone once said, has been "the conscience of labour
movements". But this is socialism as a set of ideals, as a moral dynamic, not as a particular
blueprint for an economic or political system. In this sense it has undoubtedly provided
restraints against the emergence of the cruder forms of business unionism that can be found in
the United States.
"If the first mistaken view of the purpose of trade unions comes from the Left, then the second
comes from the Right. The operative word for its expression is responsible trade unionism.
Michael Shanks amusingly characterized and only slightly caricatured this view -
"There has grown up in recent years a widespread superstition that the trade union leader is a
sort of ex officio civil servant, responsible to the community at large. The trade union leader’s
main responsibility, to judge from the sort of comment one reads in the press and hears from
middle-class lips, is to "keep his chaps in line" or "knock some sense into them...", in practical
terms, the main function of a union leader according to this view is to deter his members from
putting in ambitious wage claims, stop them from going on strike and behaving in other anti-
social ways and encourage them to work harder and increase their productivity... Having done
all that, he can gracefully retire with a peerage. He may even be introduced to the Queen and
taken to dine in a west End club from time to time.
"The essence of this view is that trade unions are there to act as a kind of social police force -
to keep the chaps in order and the wheels of industry turning. To this there is only one
answer. The first and overriding responsibility of all trade unions is to the welfare of their
own members. That is their primary commitment; not to a firm, not to an industry, not to the
nation. A union collects its member’s contributions and demands their loyalty specifically
for the purpose of protecting their interests as they see them, not their alleged "true" or
"best" interests as defined by others.

"Leadership is important of course. Trade union leaders should be ahead of their members
in thinking about their problems. It is their responsibility to point out the further and more

far-reaching consequences of decisions which could be regretted later despite their strong
immediate appeal. When union leaders seek only to court popularity and defend this on the
grounds that they are "the servants" of their members, they betray the responsibilities of their
office, when the argument is over and however, their principal task must be one of
representation. If they fail in this the trade union no longer serves its purpose. No other
organisation is there to do this job.

"Obviously trade unions cannot reasonably behave as if they were not part of a larger
Society or ignore the effects of their policies on the national economy and the general public.
No voluntary organisation can do that with impunity.

If they do, they turn society against them and society can retaliate. In any case, members of
trade unions are citizens and consumers as well as producers. Even so, trade unions exist to
promote sectional interests - the interests of the section of the population they happen to
organise - as do professional associations and many other bodies!

"There is nothing selfish or slightly disreputable about this; it is an essential part of the
democratic process. Indeed, once trade unions appear to be acting as servants of employers
or servants of the government, they are bound to be written off by their own members who
will turn, as they sometimes do already, to unofficial leaders to take up their demands.
"Both of the views I have been attacking belittle the democratic function of trade unions;
their function of representation. That is why each in its different way claims to know better
than the trade unions themselves where the interests of their members lie. My starting point
in defining union purpose is the opposite premise; that the best way of finding the right
answer is to look at the behaviour of trade unions; to infer what they are from what they do.
"Here one thing is at once certain and it applies to all trade unions and has applied
throughout the greater part of their history. The activity, to which they devote most of their
resources and appear to rate most highly, is collective bargaining. So the question we have
to ask is, what purpose do unions pursue in collective bargaining? The conventional answer
is that they defend and, if possible, improve their members' terms and conditions of
employment. They are out to raise wages, to shorten hours and to make working conditions
safer, healthier and better in many other aspects.

"The answer is right as far as it goes, but it does not go far enough. Collective bargaining
may be what the words imply - that depends on how we define bargaining - but it is also a
rule-making process. The rules it makes can be seen in the contents of collective agreements.
In other words, one of the principal purposes of trade unions in collective bargaining is
regulation or control. They are interested in regulating wages as well as in raising them and,
of course, in regulating a wide range of other issues appertaining to their members' jobs and
working life.
"Why do they have this interest in regulating employment relationships and what social
purpose does such regulation serve? It is certainly not a bureaucratic interest in rules for
their own sake. Unions and their members are interested in the effect of rules made by
collective bargaining, which is to limit the power and authority of employers and to lessen
the dependence of employees on market fluctuations and the arbitrary will of management.

Stated in the simplest possible terms these rules provide protection, a shield, for their
members. And they protect not only their material standards of living, but equally, their
security, status and self-respect; in short, their dignity as human beings. One can put the
same point in another way. The effect of rules is to establish rights, with their corresponding

"The rules in collective agreements secure for employees the right to a certain rate of wages;
the right not to have to work longer than a certain number of hours; the right not to be
dismissed without consultation or compensation and so on. This surely is the most enduring
social achievement of trade unionism; its creation of a social order in industry embodied in a
code of industrial rights. This too, is the constant service that unions offer their members:
daily protection of their industrial rights.

"Such rights could be and to some extent are, established by law. But collective bargaining
serves yet another great social purpose. Apart from providing protection, it also permits
participation. A worker through his union has more direct influence on what rules are made
and how they are applied than he can ever exercise by his vote over the laws made by
parliament. We hear a lot these days about participation, including workers' participation in
management. I have yet to be convinced that there is a better method than collective
bargaining for making industry more democratic, providing its subjects and procedures are
suitably extended. Putting a few workers or union officials on boards of directors only
divorces them from the rank-and-file. In collective bargaining, trade unions must continually
respond to and service their members' interests.

"The constant underlying social purpose of trade unionism is then participation in job
regulation. But participation is not an end in itself, it is the means of enabling workers to
gain more control over their working lives. Nothing has happened over the post-war years to
change that basic purpose or to lessen its importance."
Why Employees Join Unions
 To increase their bargaining power
 Minimize favouritism and discrimination
 Representation in labour disputes
 Closed shop arrangements
 Social factors, i.e., peer pressure, feeling of belongingness etc.,
 Cultural factors – legacy/history.
 According to Swanepoel et al (2004), the following are the factors that lead employees into
joining trade unions: -
1. Perceived lack of job security,
2. Management’s lack of respect for employees
3. Anger at the employer,
4. The belief that union representation would be effective
5. Favourable attitudes towards unions in general
 Ultimately, they conclude, the decision to join trade unions “may involve a combination of pre-
dispositional attitudes, situational conditions, intense emotional effect, as well as a calculative
cost/benefit analysis of the pros and cons of union representation”

 Employees will join trade unions if such membership wields utility. The utility that they find
usually emanate from the cost-benefit analysis, premised on the assumption of trade unions
bargaining for batter wages and working conditions,
 Job security is increasingly becoming an all important factor, in an era where there are changing
trends on the nature of work and the new psychological contract and this is exacerbated by the
unfavorable labour market conditions locally with very high unemployment levels, leading
employees to prioritizing security as exoneration
 Job insecurity is defined by Bender and Sloane (1999) as “a situation where employees
experience a sense of powerlessness to maintain desired continuity in a threatened job situation.
Now because of the power element associated with trade unions, this insecurity, it is argued, is
sufficient to influence the propensity of employees to unionize hence it is argued by some
scholars that “the overall impact of trade unions is to reduce the proportion of workers who are
insecure of their jobs.
 Apart from the legal rights to freedom of association and assembly and of trade unions organizing
to get recognition in the workplace as representatives of employees
Legal Provisions surrounding Trade Unions in Zimbabwe
 Section 27 of LRA a group of employees may form a trade union
 Within 6 months of formation shall provide a written constitution and submit to Minister
- Qualification for membership
- Rights of person’s within the membership
- The number of officials and office bearers
- The holding of annual general meetings
- Re appointment of office bearers
- Calling and conducting meetings
- Issues of discrimination
- Amendment of constitution
- Winding up of trade unions
- Can raise subscriptions from its members
 No unregistered Trade Union shall
- Make representation to the Labour Court
- Be assisted by an agent or labour officer
- Form or be represented at the employment council
- Recommend collective job action
- Have the right to access employee records
- Levy collect or recover union dues
- A registered trade union may act as the agent union of employees in an undertaking or
- An unregistered union may ask the registered union to act as its agent
 Such applications shall be forwarded to the Minister who will
- ascertain the extent to which the registered trade union appreciates needs of employee in
that industry
- Ability of the union to act as agent
- No registered trade union shall act as an agent for more than 3 years without renewal or
after a union is registered in that industry
 Any interested person may apply to the registrar for variation suspension or rescission of
registration if

 The trade union no longer represents the interest areas of which it was registered
 It has failed to perform any of its functions in terms of the act
 Minister may regulate the collection of union dues in terms of maximum amount, accounting
procedures and the auditing

The Future of Trade Unions
 Blyton & Turnbull (1994) argue that the future of trade unions depends on two goals
i. Workers who are willing to join and once joined to remain union members
ii Employers who are willing to recognise them as bargaining agents for the workforce
 Batstone (1988) suggests power sources of unions lie in scarcity in the labour market, disruptive
capacity in the production process and political influence
 Union membership therefore becomes an indicator of trade union power
 In the UK unions work with shop stewards. In Zimbabwe they work with workers committees.
 “All trade unions are involved in political activity, by virtue of necessity” Crouch (1982)
 Union’s political activities take into account broad social issues such as housing, transport,
education and health care.
 In the UK there was a gradual move towards “market share unionism” merger activities
 These mergers are because unions want to avert serious financial problems caused by
membership decline.
 Unions may decide to pool their resources for mutual advantage

The State in Industrial Relations

 Limited to protecting the bargaining process.
 At face value, the state and government are one and the same thing because it legislates and
promote economic and government policy and also regulates both individual and collective
employment relationships
 The government of the day will influence the direction the country will take and therefore a
country’s strategy for economic development will determine its future industrial relations
 If government favours the free market system, then it legislates in terms of market forces- will
allow labour and management to dictate the employment relationship
 Ministry of Labour in Zimbabwe would play a pivotal role in the employment relationship.

Legal Function
 Professor Kahn-Freud has identified three legal functions which the State performs in industrial
relations (Otto Kahn Freud’s Labour and the Law 1972). First, the "regulatory function" in which
it provides rules that govern the terms and conditions of employment of individual employees,
whether or not they are union members.
 Second, the "restrictive function" in which it provides rules that governs the conduct of industrial
conflict, ie restricting the lawful ambit of industrial action.
 Third, the "auxiliary function" in which it provides rules that govern the encouragement and
extension of collective bargaining institutions. In reality there is a great overlap between these
functions, but as tools of analysis they are quite useful.

Regulatory Functions

 The conceptual corner-stone of labour law both historically and currently is the individual
contract of employment as a legally enforceable relationship. In legal theory the employer and
the employee are equal bargaining partners with freedom to decide on its terms. There is,

however, a wide difference between legal theory and what happens in practice as far as the
contract of employment is concerned. Kahn-Freud sums up this contradiction between legal
theory and what happens in practice -

".... the relation between an employer and an isolated employee or worker is typically a
relation between a bearer of power and one who is not a bearer of power. In operation it is
a condition of subordination, however much the submission and the subordination may be
concealed by the indispensable figment of the legal mind known as the contract of
employment". (Labour and the Law, p.8)
 In order to provide protection on behalf of the powerless individual employee, the State provides
a floor of rights on such issues as fundamental rights of employees (see labour act), duration,
particulars and termination of employment (s12)

Restrictive Function

 In general terms the State acts as a referee in the dynamic relations between employers and
employees. This analogy of a referee symbolizes the restrictive function of the State in so far as
it limits and prescribes the freedom of action of the participants. The starting point when
analyzing this function is to consider whether the State is encouraging or destroying collective
bargaining between employers and employees. Is the State encouraging the growth and strength
of both employees' and employers' organisations, or is the restrictive function used to supersede
collective bargaining?
The following are some of the practices which generally characterize the restrictive function of the
State -
 Strike Action
 Registration of trade unions
 Compulsory Arbitration
 Unfair Dismissal

Auxiliary Function
 The auxiliary function of the State in industrial relations is primarily to promote industrial peace
by encouraging and promoting collective bargaining between trade unions and employer
organisations. The State, through legislation or otherwise, defines the bargaining units, the
procedures and institutions for resolving disputes and reserves the power to legally enforce
agreements and place unions under statutory duty to give equal protection, ie representation to all
the workers in the designated industry or occupation irrespective of membership, race, creed or
anything else.
For more, students should refer to part X of the labour Act, (S74-82b) on Collective Bargaining

 The process of conciliation, mediation, arbitration, investigation and inquiry constitutes the
auxiliary function of the State.


 Simply means "that some third party" - a civil servant, a person without office but with personal
prestige, or statutory or agreed commission or board - tries to get the parties together. If

conciliation succeeds, the result is an agreement. Mediation is usually synonymous with


 Is listening to the parties and the evidence and then formulating an award. "if the arbitration is
voluntary as to its outcome, this is a mere recommendation; if it is compulsory, the award binds
the parties".

Investigation and/or Inquiry

 Is "a procedure in which some third party (usually a commission or court) is charged with finding
the facts of a dispute and sometimes also with the making of recommendations for its settlement".

The State in the General Management of the Economy

 No analysis of the State's involvement in industrial relations will be complete without an

examination of the State versus the general management of the economy. The extent to which the
State gets involved in the general management of the economy depends on the political economic
philosophy of the Statue.
 The crucial questions that one needs to ask in examining this role of the State are –
- Is the involvement of the State promoting the interests of the employers or the
employees, i.e. interests of capital or of labour?
- Is the involvement of the State guided by the principle of an overriding national interest
which goes beyond the rich-poor conflict and the employee- employer conflict?
- When playing such a central and visible role can the State really be neutral?
A detailed analysis of the neutrality or otherwise of the State is beyond the scope of this module.
What is not debatable is the fact that the role of the State in industrial relations was developed in
line with the general transformation in its economic functions. The State is usually involved in
manpower policies, incomes and prices policies, investments and subsidies policies all of which
have direct or indirect impact on the industrial relations trends in any given national economy.
These will be examined in this section, giving emphasis to the resultant influence on industrial

Manpower Policies, these include policies on such issues as;

 Skills generation.
 Employment generation.
 General conditions of service.
 Labour Mobility
 Income and Price Policy
Collective Bargaining

 “...all negotiations which takes place between an employer, a group of employers or one or more
employers organisations, on the one hand, and one or more workers organisations on the other,
for: -

a) Determining working conditions and terms of employment, and /or
b) Regulating relations between employers and workers, and /or
c) Regulating relations between employers or their organisations and a workers’ organization…”
(ILO Convention 154)
 “A voluntary process for reconciling the conflicting interests and aspirations of management and
labour through the joint regulation of terms and conditions of employment” Gwisai (2006)
 It is a process of negotiation between management and union representatives for the purpose of
arriving at mutually acceptable wages and working conditions for employees. (Boone and Kurtz,
1999 p 424 – 425)
 Rycroft and Jordaan define Collective Bargaining as a voluntary process for reconciling the
conflicting interests and aspirations of management and labour though the joint regulation of
terms and conditions of employment.
 John Grogan defines it as the process in terms of which employers and employees collectively
seek to reconcile their conflicting goals through a process of mutual accommodation.
Purpose of Collective Bargaining
 Establishes industrial justice
 Allows workers to participate in decisions that affect them.
 Ensures that no arbitrary behaviour is imposed and no unrealistic demands are made on them
 According to Grogan (2006), it assumes willingness on each side not only to listen to the
representations of the other but to abandon fixed positions where possible in order to find
common ground.
Factors necessary for effective Collective Bargaining to take place (Gwisai 2006)
 Recognition of divergent interests of employers and employees.
 Recognition of the need for equilibrium of power between the two parties
 Recognition of the philosophy of mutual survival
 Elimination of direct and indirect obstacles to effective CB
 Representation, democratic process whereby elected representatives negotiate on behalf of large
 Power which lies in the ability of parties to influence each other towards mutually acceptable
 Common ground – the desire
Types of Collective Bargaining
 The two basic methods of bargaining are traditional bargaining and partnership bargaining.
 The traditional style of bargaining has been used since collective bargaining began between
management and the early labour unions (Encyclopedia of Business and Finance, 2000)
 It is an adversarial style of negotiating, putting one side against the other with little or no
understanding of, or knowledge about the other on the part of either party.
 Each side places its demands and proposals on the table and the other side responds to them with
counter proposals.
 The process is negative and involves a struggle of give and take on most issues.
 The partnership style of bargaining is a more modern concept.
 It strives for mutual understanding and common education on the part of both labour and
management, and it focuses on goals and concerns common to both parties.
 It emphasizes on each side’s being aware of its issues concerning the other side, it is called
interest based bargaining.
 In this process labour and management each list and explain their needs and ensuring discussion
revolves around ways to meet those needs that will not only be acceptable but also beneficial to
both parties.

 This style of bargaining is very positive and imports a much more congenial atmosphere to the
negotiating process.
 Sometimes there is a blending of the traditional and partnership styles in labour and management
Key issues in Collective Bargaining
 Scope
Issues discussed (both substantive and procedural issues, including; Rates of remuneration,
Benefits, Deductions from employee wages, Methods of calculating or adjusting rate of pay,
Overtime, piecework, vacation leave, Demarcation of categories of jobs, Apprentices conditions
of service, Hours of work, Occupational safety, Access of parties to records, Procedures to deal
with disputes, Housing and transport facilities, Measures to combat workplace violence,
 Level,
Collective bargaining takes place at 3 levels, the micro/enterprise level, and the macro-levels
which include the industry and national levels.
 Coverage
This includes the specific groups/ constituencies that are covered by collective agreements at
various levels.
Historical Background to Collective Bargaining in Zimbabwe
 The Industrial Conciliations Act establishes the foundation for Collective Bargaining in
 According to Schiphorst (2001), The 1959 ICA was a major hallmark in Industrial relations, as
the first genuine piece of legislation not only to allow the formation of black unions, but, to
provide a wage setting machinery by setting the parameters for collective bargaining as well as
the development of Industrial Boards and Industrial Councils.
 Amongst the weaknesses it had however, Sachikonye (1986:52) in Schiphorst (2001) has
summarised thus “…the institutionalization of wage setting machinery has meant breaking in part
of the employer monopoly on wage determination even though the process is far from
complete…the exercise of labour power has established the basis for intervention in the system
and resulted in the development of additional threats to employers’ interests…the
institutionalization of unionism has permitted the entrenchment of a protective instrument of
working-class welfare, this being not an insignificant achievement in the prevailing climate…”.
 The 1973 Act twisted the system of collective bargaining with the empowering of the minister to
vary CBAs, thus reducing the freedom to bargain (Collective Bargaining Autonomy).
 Not so much change occurred post-independence, as had been forecasted, but just the flow within
the direction of the 1959 Industrial Conciliation Act. Within the first five years of independence,
wages continued to be determined through bargaining at an industry level, albeit after the removal
of racial overtones.
 This period also marked the time to debate on whether to introduce workers committees and
works councils in the new system, or instead to strengthen the machinery already present.
 To trade unions, this had obvious implications in terms of their strengths, at a time when they
believed that the development of a trade union movement was more an important achievement of
worker expectations than worker participation, while to business; it meant an alteration to the
existing power structures and an opening of new forms of worker control.
 That witnessed the formation of enterprise councils and the strengthening of the one-industry-
one-union policy. Collective bargaining became largely centralized at the industry level.

 The coming in of the 1985 Act witnessed the institutionalization of collective bargaining at
industrial level with the possibility of enterprise flexibility through flexibility through workers
committees (Schiphorst 2001).
 Concepts such as the unfair labour practice concept were introduced, including good faith
bargaining, bringing Employment Councils and Employment Boards (in their structures and
forms) in the hierarchy to replace industrial councils and boards, that had been introduced in the
1959 Act as well as empowerment of enterprise level bargaining through works councils, the
empowerment of the state to promulgate regulations which would have overriding effects on
bargaining agreements, state’s determination of maximum and minimum wages, severe
curtailment of the right to strike and the intensive state regulation of trade unions as well as the
continuation of the one union one industry concept among other things.
 This resulted in collective bargaining playing a more secondary and subordinate role to state
 The neo-liberal policies adopted in the 90’s witnessed, but a radical shift towards voluntarism and
labour autonomy, when collective bargaining became a decisive platform for the determination of
wages and dismissals.
 Benefits accrued to labour in terms of full recognition of trade unions as a legitimate partner to
the process, though major shortcomings including the severe curtailment of the right to strike as
well as shop floor competition that came in the form of works councils.
 The 2002 Amendment Act strengthened the facilitative role of the state, which expressly states in
the purpose of the Act the provision of a legal framework within which employers and employees
can bargain collectively for the improvement of working conditions.
 This position has been maintained by the 2006 Labour Act, as provided for on Part 1X (Sections
74 to 82B) of the Act. Some of the critical elements that lie at the core of collective bargaining in
the Act include, among other things; issues on the scope of agreements (s74), good faith
negotiation (s75), disclosure once inability to pay is alleged (s76), issues of agency representation
(s77), registration of agreements (s79) as well as internal and external regulation or variation of
agreements (including the powers of the minister to vary the agreements so made-s81).
 Collective bargaining law in Zimbabwe has tremendously contributed to the whole industrial
relations framework both economically and socially.
 The major economic benefit so derived by parties to the employment relationship has been the
establishment of a framework upon which individual and collective workplace relations are
managed and where industrial conflict is institutionalized for the pursuit of a harmonious
employee relations climate.
 Gwisai (2006) also acknowledges how law has aided employee relations socially (in terms of
justice and democracy) by the strength of S2A of the Act (Purpose of the Act). Collective
Bargaining Autonomy, though some argue is limited, remains, but a significant factor that has
been enjoyed by parties to Employee Relations.
 The legally binding nature of Collective Bargaining has been significant. It falls at the hub of
such works like Otto Kahn Freund who argue that law comes as a force to “…regulate, support,
and restrain the powers of management and organized labour…” In other words, there is a clear
recognition of the power differences between individual employees against management or
organized labour against management respectively, the inadequacies of the former (organized
labour) to provide a power base that can be equated to that of the later (management) at the
bargaining table, which then justifies the need for a machinery to govern their relationship (in
terms of setting the framework upon which terms and conditions of employment are regulated).

 Furthermore, the law has improved on trade union effectiveness, as measured by the meeting of
primary needs of workers such as better pay and conditions, increased influence on what they
regard as increased influence on what they regard as workplace decisions, and protection against
arbitrary management action (Freeman 1996). This is regardless of whether unions are
instrumentally or ideologically motivated to do so.
 In as much as the law on collective bargaining has posed improvements on employer-employee
relations, it has also had its own weaknesses, or limitations. A critical analysis of one element key
to the process, the recognition of a need to balance the powers of the parties to the employee
relations, has not been addressed carefully.
 The rhetoric of the argument provides a seemingly clear manner in which the government has
tried to create a balance of power between parties to employee relations, but the reality is very
 The state has made it very difficult for labour to enjoy the freedom to bargain by instituting a well
calculated and sophisticated bargaining framework involving a combination of bargaining
centralization through employment councils as well as bargaining decentralization in the
workplace (Schiphorst 2001).
 While this may have been simple, if we look at s23 (1) (b), it has become very difficult for unions
to gain 50 % membership at an enterprise level so that they could control the workers committees
as shop stewards in the workplace with the prevailing economic environment.
 This was also made in light of Part VII of the Act on the right to organize, giving rise to a
recognition of multiple unions at the negotiation table (usually in opposition with regards to
political opinions) for example AMWZ and NUMQISWZ in the mining industry, and most
importantly, the continued curtailment of the right to strike, or rather, the exercise of the freedom
through a set of verbose procedures and unfounded restrictions (Part XIII of the Act).
 Research has clearly proved that the essence of bargaining power lies in one’s ability to withhold
something of value to another and that a strike action is an essential and integral part of collective
bargaining (Gwisai, 2006).
 Without this, “…the power of management to shut down the plant will not be matched by a
corresponding power on the side of labour…”. Apparently, such factors have tended to negatively
affect trade unions in terms of their powers to negotiate effective collective bargaining.
 Most of the regulations were largely driven by political factors rather that economic ones, thus
resulting in a disintegrated, frustrated, competing (levels) and conflicting labour movement hence
diverting their attention from representing their constituencies to scampering for membership.
Meanwhile, this has given more security to employers who already have so much power in
employee relations.
 A combination of the two tier system of managing collective bargaining, one for the Public Sector
and another for the Private Sector, plus the administration of a combination of bargaining
centralization (industry-wide) and decentralization (company-wide) simultaneously has also
come with it some interesting results.
 This has also been against the fact that there are more than 20 sectors/industries negotiating their
agreements with employees in the country.
 As a result, there has not only been a lack of collective voice on the part of employees in general,
but the private sector has had a tendency to wait for the public sector to negotiate CBAs first, and
then use the result as a benchmark. Such has been a rather fire-fighting and retrogressive ploy
considering how poorly the public sector has addressed issues of working conditions.

 The lack of coordination amongst bargaining centres has also resulted in a lack of a collective
voice and an organized strategy with respect to the capacity of industry to produce and pay.
 The other weakness was that the declining degrees of bargaining centralization to industry level
has tended to result in bargainers passing negative pay externalities (i.e. the cost of pay rises in
terms of inflation, unemployment and loss of competitiveness) onto third parties (e.g customers,
other employee groups and also the state). Now this has equally resulted in the stagnation of the
country’s economic performance.
 The area of scope of bargaining has not been fully addressed by law to take consideration,
explicitly issues of productivity, which should be a critical factor in the consideration of pay
 This has resulted in a nadir relationship being built in employee relations where union strength
would at times supersede the capacities of companies to pay (for example in the energy industry
and local authorities).
 The resultant effect has been the channelling of company funds towards employee salaries at the
expense of the real objects of Companies. It has been the general public that has felt the grip
especially considering how water and electricity charges have increased for example, pressure for
payments mounting against a rather dismal performance of these, in terms of service delivery.
These companies have managed to comprise market leaders in terms of pay and benefits despite
the fact that there is a sharp contrast between productivity and pay, a flaw of the law. At one time
the minister even had to interfere in order to get allowances cut for some employees in the energy
 Within this context, a great deal of questions has been raised over the effectiveness of Arbitrators
in collective dispute management, especially amid reports from business that they were not
factoring in these issues of productivity in wage determination.
 This has been exacerbated by the continued inclination of the labour movement on measuring
minimum wages basing on the basic needs as explained in calculating the Poverty Datum Line
thus building on stagnation of the economy by way of creating a dependency syndrome where
they focus on milking business of productive funds instead of realizing the relationship between
productivity, performance, revenues and pay increases.
 A more similar argument has been raised in that the binding effect of collective bargaining
agreements on everyone in a specific industry has largely affected many companies in terms of
their capacities to pay since they are affected differently by the business environmental factors.
The moment we have Companies failing to meet wage payment among other collective
bargaining obligations, stagnation, rightsizing elements or even Company closure becomes
 Whilst taking note of the failures of the law to take into consideration the factors that affected
collective bargaining after the 2006 Act (esp. 2008) thus shaping the scope of bargaining, where a
great deal of both substantive and procedural rules was varied, the frequency of bargaining
increased, the levels of bargaining decentralized to the workplace, and coverage of agreements
also varied, equally, challenges have been noted in trying to get parties to employee relations re-
oriented to a new dollarized Zimbabwe, which is a bit certain and more likely predictable.
 The same applies to its failure to take cognizance of the increasingly growing informal sector.
 The weaknesses of law on collective bargaining in adapting to the prevailing economic situation
has also paved way for the administration of sophisticated HRM practices and an intimate
relationship between labour and business that has witnessed new trends on Collective bargaining
(to include productivity bargaining elements, e.g, at Wankie Colliery) as well as other agreements

that fall outside the legal framework of Collective bargaining in Zimbabwe being binding on
parties, for example in 2008.
 Productivity bargaining should be factored in on the scope of bargaining explicitly, since it lies at
the hub of collective bargaining. This should be complemented by an effort to apprise the labour
movement of the need to view negotiations within the context of organizational and industry
 Trade unions will always remain ineffective for as long as they cannot exercise their right to
resort to collective job action as part of bargaining. This is but the most important area that builds
on trade union strength and hence forces employers to negotiate effectively.
 The law should also put up a clause governing the frequency of bargaining and circumstances
upon which agreements can be reviewed in a clear and precise manner.
 There is need to reduce the number of bargaining councils so as to try create a platform for the
formulation of more homogeneous agreements that allow for internalization of negative pay
externalities whilst at the same time allowing for coordination amongst bargaining centers and the
mapping of a whole industry-wide bargaining strategy.
 There is need for the creation of a legal framework guiding and binding parties to the social
contract and then cascading to the workplace through a machinery of collective bargaining. This
is largely because the social contract has significant impacts on collective bargaining.

Introductory food for thought
Question: What is the truest definition of Globalization?
Answer: Princess Diana's death.
Question: How come?
Answer: An English princess with an Egyptian boyfriend crashes in a French tunnel, driving a German
car with a Dutch engine, driven by a Belgian who was drunk on Scottish whisky: followed closely by
Italian Paparazzi in Japanese motorcycles; treated by an American doctor, using Brazilian medicines.
And moreover this is sent to you by a Zimbo, using American (Bill Gate’s) technology and you're
probably reading this on your computer that uses Taiwanese chips, and a Korean monitor, assembled by
Bangladeshi workers in a Singapore plant, transported by PAKISTANI lorry-drivers, hijacked by
Indonesians, unloaded by Sicilian longshoremen, and trucked to you illegally by Mexican.
That’s Globalization" my friend.
Thank You

What is?
Is the process by which development of a “global ideology” has begun to transcend national boundaries
with far reaching consequences for both the conduct of business transactions and the theory and practice
of management (Vernon – Wortzel et al 1990)
 The growing economic dependence among countries as reflected in increasing cross boarder
flows of goods and services, capital and know-how” (Govindarajan and Gupta 1998a in Leopold
et al 1999:99)
 Scholte (2000) viewed globalization as involving ‘the growth of supra-territorial relations among
people’ fostered by the development of high technology and increasing complex international
supply links are developed”

 Can be defined as a process of increasing global connectivity, integration and interdependence in
the economic, social, technological, cultural, political and institutional spheres.
 It can be found to represent, for example, the process that reduces barriers between countries and
involve greater integration in world markets, thus, increasing the pressure for assimilation
towards international standards (Macdonald, 1997, Frenkel and Peetz, 1998, Ali, 2005).
 Economic aspects of globalisation are the most visible and important ones. These include, but are
not limited to: - economic competition amongst nations, rapidly expanding international trade and
financial flows and foreign direct investments (FDIs) by multinational corporations (MNCs),
disseminating advanced management practices and newer forms of work organisation and in
some cases sharing of internationally recognised labour standards.
 Globalisation enhances competitiveness, both at a company level and at a national level, which
leads to company managements and governments to adopt strategies designed to increase labour
effectiveness in terms of productivity, quality and or innovation.
 In summary, globalisation involves economies that are opening up to international competition
and that do not discriminate against international capital. It therefore is accompanied by
liberalisation of markets and the privatisation of productive assets.
 At the same time, this phenomenon has obviously resulted in high unemployment, increasing
casual employment and weakening labour movements according to Ali (2005)
Dimensions of Globalisation
1. Economic Globalisation - is the convergence of prices, products, wages, interest rates and profits
towards the standard of developed countries. The extent to which an economy will globalise
depends on the importance of certain processes at play, such as labour migration, international
trade, movement of capital and integration of financial markets.
2. Political Globalisation - this relates to the increasing number and power of international
organisations which influence or govern the relationships among nations and which safeguards
the rights of countries arising from social and economic globalisation.
3. Information Globalisation - refers to the rapid development of ICT worldwide, such as global
telecommunications infrastructure allowing for greater cross-border data flow.
4. Cultural Globalisation - this refers to the greater international culture exchange and growth of
cross cultural contacts between nations and people. It also involves the expansion of
multiculturalism and improved individual access to cultural diversity, as well as the growth of
international travel and tourism, while at the same time developing and establishing a set of
universal values.
Forces for Globalisation
 Lowering and removal of trade barriers
 Revolution in international transport and communication
 Emergence of a new wave of competitors
 New global markets segments
Globalization Solidifying Forces
 Trends towards regionalism e.g NAFTA (North American Free Trade Area) and EU. These
argue that open trade has more advantages than disadvantages and opt for the creation of world
with few or no trade restrictions.
 Abatement of ideological conflicts and the end of cold war. With the collapse of Berlin Wall in
1989 and socialism in much of the world global co-operations expanded virtually throughout the
world. Governments became more inclined than ever to solve international problems through

constructive engagement and dialogue, e.g. Geneva Convention for equal rights. Governments
not only restructure economies through liberalization and privatization but also invest in
productive sectors and therefore the adoption of free trade systems.
 The rising influence of NGOs in addressing and regulating a wide range of international
problems and issues eg Amnesty International and Green Peace contribute to the world economic,
social and technological integration. NGOs such as ISO set widely observed standards in the
global market place. This has affected even organizations such as Turnall where it is under
pressure from health and safety groups on its failure to meet standards on OHS.
 Mobility of capital across the globe so as to seize better financial opportunities and expansion
of markets by investors. Over $US1 trillion is traded in the global foreign exchange market and
therefore solidifying the creation of a global market.

 Ease of foreign direct investments (FDIs) and labour flow across the globe. Liberalization and
restructuring of world economies enhance MNC’s investment activities. Such organizations will
be targeting cheap labour so that they achieve higher returns from their investments. Programmes
that include ESAP ensured the solidification of globalization where there was trade liberalization
in Zimbabwe in 1991/2 years and was driven by World Bank and IMF super powers.
 Revolution in international transport and ICT (International Communications Technology).
This has eased communication, knowledge transfer and transportation and therefore geographical
space and time have lost their utility as a serious barrier for people and business interactions.
Internet has increased connectivity and worldwide information can be easily accessed and
decisions made in a short span of time.
Economic impacts of Globalisation
The most economic effects of economic globalisation include the following:
 Increasing integration of global economic activities (this leads to intensifying competition among
producers and a greater and more varied offer of diverse sources and destinations of FDI. Capital
movements are very high in an open international environment that labour force, MNCs have
played a key role in this regard, through relocating their business activities while also
subcontracting and substituting technology for human labour. Many companies have been seen to
be rationalising their operations in order to strengthen their competitiveness, by reducing both
wage and non-wage labour costs. Evidence has proved that MNCs generally pay higher wages
and employment benefits than local companies, which significantly affects the industrial relations
systems of the host country.

 In addition, their relationships with trade unions are influenced by both the management and
workforce relations in the Company’s country of origin and the situation in host country, which
makes it effectively difficult to remove the rigidities of their policies. In most instances, they do
not recognise trade unions in bargaining on terms and conditions of employment, except for when
they are complying with the labour relations regulations of that particular host country.
(Macdonald, 1997, Ali, 2005)
 Rising Competitiveness – increased competition in global markets creates demand for more
specialised and better quality products, leading to a higher volatility in product markets and
shorter product life cycles, which ultimately requires companies to respond quicker to changes in
market demands (HR implications- the need to manage people in a quality way, to build on
audible readiness, to develop globats, the need for HR to transcend the stewardship of taking

care of conditions of employment to look at factors that bring shareholder value and
organisational competitiveness. Production implications-the need to introduce new technologies
and increase the scope of flexibility in the production processes and resolve any information and
coordination difficulties which previously limited the production capacities of enterprises in
different locations around the world. The main focus in on individualising and decollectivising
work through new work organisation in the form of niches, SBUs, while on the other end, a great
deal of effort is placed on reducing the input cost to the production process by replacing people
with technologies and then emphasising on building higher value capacities and skills on
workers to perform a variety of jobs (multi-skilling). This has blurred the functional and
hierarchical distinctions between different types of jobs and between labour and management in
general, Organisation of work – efforts to improve products through innovation, quality,
availability and pricing have led companies to set up cross-functional development TEAMS,
thus transcending the traditional boundaries between engineering, manufacturing, and marketing.
All these developments have been accompanied by standardised, segmented, stable production
process which had facilitated collective industrial relations (Macdonalds, 1997) and a continual
shift of employment from manufacturing to service oriented industries, i.e., jobs shift from
traditional manual occupations to various forms of white collar occupations, though these have
been different amongst countries, largely because of differences in stages of development. The
developments in technologies, for example, are affected by the willingness of countries with
technologies to provide other countries with them (situations of sanctions), and also the extent to
which economically developed countries are seeking access to the emerging markets to sell their
products. On the other hand, developing countries face many barriers to entry into the developed
world’s markets, hence affecting their rate of growth; hence the impact and pace of growth vary
from one country to another.
 Relocation of economic activities
 Structural changes in the economy
 Rapid advancements and innovation.
Labour Markets Effects
The most influential effects here include: -
 Labour market flexibility (influences on labour market performance)
 Increasing labour migration
 Rising atypical non-standard forms of employment
 Changes in the content and working conditions
 Skills mismatch, multi-skilling and the need for lifelong learning
 Such factors vary from one country to another, but however are very fundamental in determining
a country’s competitive advantage labour market developments. Due to growing competitiveness,
many countries have become obliged to relax their employment protection mechanisms in order
to increase their labour market flexibility (see s12-duration, particulars and termination of
employment contracts), which has also raised a need to the need to create a balance between
labour market flexibility and social protection (see Parts 11-Fundamental Rights of employees,
111-unfair labour practices as examples). As a result, the need for cost efficiency and value
addition has necessitated reforms in the labour market thus bringing flexibility in order for
companies to be able to deliver goods at the right time and be strategically positioned closer to
their customers.
Flexibility defined: -

 At a more global scale, we can identify flexibility as the capacity to which an economies and
organisations can adapt to global pressures.
 Flexibility – hours, part-time work, variable contracts, functional flexibility, pay (including PRP
common in Zim.)
 We can distinguish between various types of flexibility, that is, numerical flexibility, which is
when employers use non-standard contracts of employment to match labour supply to product
service demand and to parcel out work in a way that avoids exposure to the risk of overstaffing.
Employers achieve numerical flexibility when employees work part time, fixed term and or short
term contracts, zero hours, annual hours or work from home, also including the use of short term
casualised labour, agency workers including contracting in and contracting out.
 We can also talk about functional flexibility, which is the requirement or expectation that workers
will perform tasks beyond those strictly specified in their main role or function. This might entail
cross working (performing other people’s jobs at the workplace), expanding the number of tasks
performed or working in Teams.
 We can also talk of geographical flexibility which results in managing across cultures as another
type of flexibility. Organisational flexibility is yet another strategic form of flexibility, now this is
a bigger form and beyond the deployment of flexible labour. It relates to workplace change more
generally (e.g Business process reengineering, continuous process improvement, restructuring,
mergers and acquisitions, takeovers etc) as well as introduction of new forms of work
organisation, job design and redesign etc.
 Complexities in flexibility in organisations have come in the form of new forms of contracts, e.g.,
part time work, fixed term contracts, zero hour contracts, the increased participation of women in
the labour market, outsourcing of labour, actualisation and subcontracting, all of which have
reshaped the issue of security of employment, from job security to employability security.
However, in most African societies, or the developing world in general, these have had a
tendency of creating permanent unemployment hence underemployment.
 Pillay (2006) argues that outsourcing and subcontracting have been seen by COSATU as
backdoor attempts to introduce labour market flexibility in the country- in other words, lowering
employment standards. This is in contrast with the developed world, which sees a shortage in
labour and skills threatening their competitiveness, productivity performance and sustainability of
their economic growth, hence resulting in them steering labour migration to cover the void from
the developing world in the form of temporary employment. This introduces flexibility into the
labour market while increasing competition between foreign and domestic labour with varying
implications for the countries sending and receiving workers. (They put restrictions of migrant
labour into their markets in order to limit competition for work between domestic and foreign
 The other issue we can talk about is the issue of reorganisation of work, which result in: -
- Greater emphasis on team working
- Flattening of management hierarchies and the transfer of greater operational responsibility
and authority to lower level managers, supervisors and work teams. All these are channelled
at increasing workers’ commitment to the organisation and its goals, as well as in establishing
closer relationships between managers and workers based on consultation and cooperation
(Macdonald, 1997). In addition to that, there is an argument that, while globalisation and
rapid changes in economies demand that workers become proactive, adaptable, multi-skilled,
responsible and competent, these demands put additional pressure on workers, thus

exacerbating their difficulties at a time when working conditions are deteriorating and wages
are compressed. The results of this change will be on an unbearable price, with ill health
associated with a decrease in quality of life and unfair costs for individuals and society.
 However, to become aware of the benefits arising from global integration, countries will need
effective education and training systems in order to supply the higher skills levels, which
underpin strong and flexible labour markets, economic growth and high unemployment, address
inequalities and ensure social cohesion (HM Treasury, 2005). In countries where competition is
based on quality and innovation, governments emphasize the need for adequate skills training to
improve workers’ competencies, esp. for those countries where shortages of qualified labour
exist, hence we have LIFELONG LEARNING-which is based on continuous learning, as well as
updating and upgrading of skills as a viable alternative to lifelong employment (Senge-learning
organisations, Blanchard-today’s organisations share a commitment to constant
Globalisation and Industrial Relations
 If industrial relations systems do not adjust to globalisation, the danger arises that companies will
relocate their production to countries with fewer restrictions on business activities, such as
countries with less regulated labour markets and lower labour costs.


- Internationalisation of Increasing integration of global - ACTORS
markets economic activities -Trade Unions, Employers Or
- Increase in competition - Rising competitiveness - ACTIONS/PROCESSES
- Free movement of capital - Relocation of economic Collective Bargaining, Worke
and labour across borders activities Actions, Conflict Resolution
due to less stringent - Structural changes in the - CONTEXT
regulations. As a result, economy -Political, Economic,
markets are - Rapid technological Technological Environments
internationalising, advancements and innovation - OUTCOMES
competition is increasing, - Knowledge society, -Scope of regulation of e
global markets are networking, social capital working time, working condit
- Labour market flexibility - IMPACTS
integrating and ICT promote
- Increasing labour migration -Productivity, job and emplo
- Rise of atypical and non peace and democracy
Informational globalisation through
standard employment forms
rapid development of ICT - Changes in working conditions
and work content
Job-skills mismatches, multi-skilling,
need for lifelong learning

Some of the impacts of Globalisation

 Increasing international economic interdependence has affected traditional IR arrangements viz:
- Structurally changed & expanded marketplace, making possible information flows through
tech. Tearing down traditional boundaries of the organisation.
- Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) allows MNCs to influence country, regional bodies trade
policies and labour laws as they control assets in more than one country.
- MNCs have created complex international production processes.

- Locally based businesses are now focusing on technology based focus in their business
creating as they do, growing individualism and decollectivism of work.
 Globalisation has shaken the status quo that hitherto existed between Capital and Labour – while
Labour is relatively immobile, capital moves at the same speed irrespective of location.
- Capital can employ labour in cheaper areas with ease thereby prejudicing countries of
origination – Daimler Chrysler
 Contradictory impact on IR
- Accelerates the interdependence of states which has the capacity of creating uniform IR
arrangements beyond borders.
- There is resistance towards convergence based on the particular circumstances of
different countries and regions.
Impacts on Business
 Internationalization of companies
- The development of new strategies to manage organisations, influenced by the ideas of
individuals like Michael Porter on Competitive strategies in the 80’s
- The growth of MNCs
Mergers and Alliances-GlaxoSmithKline, PricewaterhouseCoopers, DaimlerChrysler:
 Markets – driven by customer orientation not products (the need for organisations to respond to
customer-driven demand for products)
- Asian Tigers – world’s fastest growing economy.
• Dubai, Chinese, Japanese products in Zimbabwe (issues of culture, mass
production, management practices etc)
 Whole production departments are moved to areas of cheaper labour Asia and recently Africa –
Mercedez Benz, VW, Parmalat, Toyota, Nokia etc
 Movements also facilitate sensitivities to local and regional markets in a customer oriented
 New management practices such as Downsizing/rightsizing, Contracting and outsourcing to allow
concentration on core business, Increase in need for casual of labour, BPR with a view to
increasing organisational effectiveness, lower costs leading to increasing technology etc.
 Businesses relying on outsourcing to:
- Reduce time-to-market, time-to-volume
- Lower operating costs, investment, etc.
- Improve inventory management
- Access leading technology, etc.
- Produce on a global scale using parallel production facilities
- Focus on core competencies
- Organise supply chain
- Enhance purchasing power
 Pushing for more deregulated and flexible labour markets.
 Increased Competition defined by knowledge/innovation, skills and productivity compelling
business to develop new models of managing resources, including human resources hence the
coming in of the HRM Agenda, which is concerned with the attraction, development and
retention of skilled employees that are willing, and able to work towards the organisation at all
levels. (influence of the Michigan School of thought, The Harvard School and Guest 1987)

“The success global companies is to a large extent dependant on their ability to organize (sic)
(within and between organisations) across national boundaries information, money, people and
other resources)”
 Employers seen encouraging more employee involvement in job design and execution of work –
multi-skilling; they cover up for absenteeism and make jobs redundant reducing the need to
employ certain replacements.
 Reducing the scope of C.B to issues that cannot be employer specific – removing work re-
organisation, flexible working hours (Mining in Zim), and contractual arrangements (PRP).
• US – enterprise level CB
• UK and EU – movement is towards the enterprise level
 Increased training expenditure and pressure to up educational qualification – increasing need for
self dvpt.
 Knowledge is driving employment, investment & productivity.
Managing a Global Workforce: Emerging Issues
 Armstrong defines the 7 characteristics of people management being adopted viz:
• Cosmopolitan, Culture, Compensation, Communication, Consultancy, Competence and
 Centralisation strategy – extent of parent country control of employment policies
• Helps plan for Mgt. Succession
• Secure high quality staff members
• Managing existing operations effectively
• More commitment because of assurance of a global outlook
 Merging employment practice and culture (the convergence thesis)
 Managing diverse cultures, social systems and legal requirements
 Managing people spread across the globe even with the most sophisticated global system is not
the same e.g. video conferencing – the absentee boss.
 Chia (1995) says of management: “the earlier generation’s recipe for success hinged on hard
work, smart moves, the right business and political connections, monopolies, protectionist
barriers… and a docile labour force. …the new …manager has to exercise greater levels of
leadership …balance this with being an entrepreneur… To this has to be added coaching, team
building and motivating the company , the ability to visualize, plan strategically, market and
reengineer products and services and the belief in a customer driven culture.”
Globalization and the role of the State
 Traditional role of the state in a tripartite IR system is being threatened by enterprise level C.B
 Role of international bodies external governments
- Laws in some countries in Europe forbid investment for poor labour practice records
- International pressure groups on Corp. Responsibility e.g. on Shell
 Integration based legal changes have made it difficult to institute legal measures that are not
practice in the group – critical in EU, ASEAN, COMESA and SADC
- Creation of common market, free movement of goods
- Unity of Currency or parity
- Removal of Tariffs
- Free flow of capital, people (dropping visas)
 IR policy is managed through compliance with ILO conventions

- No 87 – Freedom of association & protection of the right to organize
Globalization and Labour
 The permanent job is disappearing
- Casualisation of labour
 Organized labour is threatened by enterprise level bargaining under the auspices of the
democratization of the workplace
 IT – As businesses seek ways to improve the product (through innovation, quality, availability &
pricing) cross functional teams, cutting across traditional segments & stable processes that
facilitated collective IR
 Reduction as well of the numbers that is available to the organisation into Trade Unions.
 The rise of the knowledge worker
 The impact of MNCs on C.B in host countries
 Globalization and labour market performance
 Eric Foner has written: "Today's Chinatown sweatshops and Third World child labour factories
are the functional equivalent of colonial slavery in that the demands of the consumer and the
profit drive of the entrepreneur overwhelm the rights of those whose labour actually produces the
saleable commodity." 9 Working people have always resisted such demands. At the end of the 20th
century resistance will be stronger to the extent to which we do not allow the scarecrow of
"globalization" to disempower us. The system is the same, its logic is the same, and the need for
workers of the world to unite has never been greater. It is time for greater clarity in our critique of
the basic workings of what are called "free markets" but are in reality class power. We need to
counterpoise the need to control capital and to have the economy serve human needs rather than
accept the continuous sacrifice of working people to such ideological constructions as
competitiveness, free markets, and the alleged requirements of globalization.

 Twist of trade union power from membership to information

 The impacts of the growing informal sector

Social Dialogue
Definition of Social Dialogue
 Social Dialogue is defined to include all types of negotiations or simply the exchange of
information between, or among representatives of governments, employers and workers, on
issues of common interest relating to economic and social policy. It is perceived as an instrument
of democracy, which promotes consensus building for the national good.
Prerequisite for Social Dialogue
 The following are key conditions for Social Dialogue:
- Establishment of a Social Dialogue culture;
- cultivation of a Social Dialogue mindset;
- establishment of effective institutions for Social Dialogue;
- political tolerance and social cohesion for the sake of national development.
Social Dialogue approaches in Zimbabwe
 The approach to Social Dialogue is two-pronged. The National Economic Consultative Forum
(NECF) under the banner of smart partnership is pursuing the broader initiatives. Secondly,
resolving of national socio-economic problems through negotiations is pursued within the
auspices of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF).

Smart partnership and NECF
 The Commonwealth Partnership for Technology Management Ltd. (CPTM), created by
Commonwealth Heads of Government in 1995 promotes networking between governments,
business and labour organisations.
 It involves partnership among government, business and labour at the national, regional and
international levels, helping Commonwealth countries to make the most of opportunities offered
by the new global market. Smart Partnership is based on a deliberate policy of co-operation
among the government, the private sector and labour aimed at transforming a country into a
winning nation.
 The primary responsibility of government in a Smart Partnership is to set a clear vision, which is
shared by all stakeholders and clearly articulated national strategic plan, which captures that
vision. All parties must see themselves as stakeholders in a common endeavour, with the prospect
of a “win-win” outcome for all. Smart Partnership is, therefore, about creating limitless
opportunities for the generation of wealth. It is also a process that unites people in contributing
towards prosperity for all. One such example of International Dialogues co-ordinated by CPTM
was the 2nd Southern African International Dialogue (SAID 99) held in Victoria Falls in October
1999, which focused on economic empowerment and wealth creation in the region. Both labour
and business participated.
 The NECF, set up in 1997, is the national hub for Smart Partnership in Zimbabwe. The objectives
of the NECF are:
- to create a Smart Partnership amongst key economic players - government, private sector,
labour and other stakeholders in order to enhance the economic development process of the
- to provide a broad participatory framework in the formation of national economic policy
through an interchange of ideas and experiences amongst the stakeholders;
- to facilitate the co-ordination, monitoring and evaluation of national economic policy

The NECF operates through the following task forces:

 Macro-economic Task Force
 Land Reform Task Force
 Industrial Policy Task Force
 Incomes and Pricing Task Force
 Human Resources Development Task Force
 Health and Environment Task Force
 Taxation and Expenditure Task Force, and
 Anti-corruption Task Force
Smart Partnership for what?
 In the Zimbabwean context, Smart Partnership is for:
- strengthening co-operative networks and enhancing working relationships among
Governments, Labour and the Private Sector;
- building a Zimbabwean co-operative team and a common vision;
- identifying “win-win” situations so as to promote the development of Zimbabwe;
- projecting Zimbabwe to the international business community as a destiny for investments.

 The Smart Partnership approach is a means of creating a uniquely Zimbabwean pathway to global
competitiveness by building on the systems of co-operation, which are inherent in the
Zimbabwean culture. After all, the Zimbabwean culture stresses the important role of co-
operative action within the family and community. Competitiveness in the global market is
achievable within a co-operative framework.

In the context of globalisation, government should:

 create an enabling environment;
 Pursue policies essential to successes in the global economy.

Labour should:
 be driven by a clear understanding that only through productivity enhancing measures and
commitment to excellence in the provision of goods and services, can they guarantee workers
good salaries, wages, employment and job security;
 adopt less conflictual labour relations;
 assist in building the capacity of workers.
Private sector should:
 encourage managers to employ progressive business practices;
 assist in the building the capacity of workers in line with the new concept of social capital;
 place productivity and quality through Smart Partnership at the apex of organisational endeavour;
 maintain core standards at the work place in line with the Declaration on Fundamental Principles
and Rights at Work.
Shortcomings of the NECF
Some of the shortcomings are:
 It is not a negotiating chamber though some of its positions are factored into the government
decision-making machinery.
 Public Service Associations are not players of this forum despite the fact that there are critical
components of labour in Zimbabwe.

The Tripartite Negotiating Forum

Background information
Since independence in 1980, tripartite consultations among government, labour and business have
been taking place following the ratification by government of the ILO Convention No. 144 (Tripartite
Consultations, 1976). The tripartite consultations have been, to a greater extent, restricted to meetings
among the Ministry responsible for Labour Administration, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
(ZCTU) and the Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ).
Up to 1998, the consultations had remained narrow in scope
It is against this background that in 1998, at the zenith of the labour movement’s protests,
demonstrations and job stay-aways against macro-economic problems, that the idea to transform the
tripartite consultation arrangements by broadening the scope in line with paragraph 3(b) of ILO
Recommendation No. 152 was mooted. With Social Dialogue in mind and as the way forward to deal
with issues of national outlook, the Government, Labour and Business formalised in October 1998
their meetings into the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF).

The agreed terms of reference of the TNF are:
 to identify and deal with all macro- economic issues that affect the well- being of the economy
and social development;
 to deal with issues debated in the NECF and render themselves for negotiations. (A practical
example is the issue of a Social Contract, which was debated in the NECF in September 1999 and
was referred to the TNF since it is a negotiable matter);
 to negotiate and recommend positions to the respective constituent bodies;
 to monitor the implementation of the agreed positions once ratified by constituent bodies.

Composition for the TNF

 Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare (Chairperson)
 Finance and Economic Development
 Industry and International Trade
 Mines and Energy
 Lands and Agriculture
 Environment and Tourism
 Information and Publicity
 Other Ministers are invited depending on the issues under consideration.

 Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ) (business co-ordinator and co-chairperson)
 Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI)
 Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC)
 Bankers Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ)
 Chamber of Mines
 Commercial Farmers Union (CFU)
 Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU)

 The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union’s (ZCTU) (labour co-ordinator and co-chairperson)
 Public Service Association (PSA)
 Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA)
 Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZNA)
 5 members of the Executive Office of the ZCTU attend the TNF

Issues finalised by Social Partners in the TNF

The following issues were discussed and agreed upon within the auspices of the TNF in October
 the scrapping of the Development Levy;
 the scrapping of the 2½ sales tax which the Government had effected in November 1997;
 the deferment of taxation on Pension Funds to allow for a comprehensive study.

Current discussions on Social Contract

At the beginning of September 2000, the social partners started negotiations aimed at the conclusion
of a Social Contract. The social partners agreed to start with a Declaration of Intent towards a Social
Contract. This is a prelude to the conclusion of a Social Contract and its main objectives are:
 to create a conducive and tolerant environment for the discussion and conclusion of a Social
 to overcome constituents differences and work towards a common goal being guided by a
common vision regarding the future of the economy;
 to remove the fears and mistrust among Social Partners;
 to commit social partners to sustainable Social Dialogue.

Advantages of the TNF approach

 It is a negotiating chamber
 It is result-oriented
 Representation in the TNF is by institutional arrangement
 It is a forum, which affords social partners to meaningfully engage in decision-making processes
on issues, which have a national outlook.

Concluding Remarks
 Social dialogue is the only way forward for this country to survive in depressed political and
economic environments.
 Economic problems have to be tackled by all social partners – government, labour, capital, and
society in general. Not one single party can resolve some of the teething problems being faced by
the country.

1. Discuss Robert Mitchell’s “Iron Law of Oligarchy” and its relevance to trade union democracy.
2. A contract of employment is a way of controlling the labour process. Discuss with reference to
Zimbabwe’s statutory and common law provisions on the employment contract.
3. “An unceasing power struggle is therefore the central feature of industrial relations…..”Hyman
(1975). Discuss
4. Discuss the contention that “there is nothing so unequal as the equal treatment of unequals” with
respect to the State’s intervention in industrial relations.
5. Does the definition of Industrial relations as job regulation represent a narrow framework for the
study of the subject? Discuss
6. Conflict is always inherent in Industrial Relations. Discuss this argument with reference to the
three Industrial Relations perspectives.
7. The issues of power and control are central to the study of industrial relations. Discuss
8. Discuss the various elements that are fundamental in developing a legally binding employment
contract as discussed in class.
9. Analyse the factors that have led to the growth and decline of trade unions in Zimbabwe since
1900 to date.
10. Discuss the role of the State in industrial Relations.
11. Analyse the critical elements that should be considered by negotiators for effective negotiations
to take place. Discuss the extent to which the State has contributed towards the rise and fall of
trade unions in the pre and post-independent Zimbabwe.
12. Discuss the impact of globalization on Industrial Relations in Zimbabwe. In your answer, take
note of how flexibility issues have shaped the employment contract.
13. a) “…the issues of power and control are central to the study of industrial relations…”.Outline
the various types and sources of managerial power in Industrial Relations.
b) Discuss the strategies employed by management in order to gain full control of the labour
14. a) Discuss the contention that conflict is always inherent in Industrial Relations.
b) Analyse the nature and causes of industrial conflict and the various ways that are used to
contain it.
15. a)
b) Discuss the factors that are likely to affect the nature and scope of collective bargaining in
Zimbabwe today.
16. a) Discuss the reasons why employees join trade unions as well as the factors that discourage
others to obtain membership in such organizations.
b) Critically analyse trade union democracy and the factors that are likely to impinge on trade
union democracy in the contemporary business world.
17. Discuss the role played by Social Dialogue in addressing issues of Social and Economic Policy in
Zimbabwe since 1998. To what extent has it added value to all parties to the Social Contract?
18. Analyse the impacts of the new H.R Agenda on the management of Employment Relations today.

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relations (1980-1995)
Swanepoel et al,(2007), South African Employment Relations, Van Schaik Publishers, Pretoria
Taxler.F,(2009), The Economic Effects of Collective Bargaining Coverage: A cross national analysis,
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