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1 Industrial Relations The 2003 UK Fire-fighters Strike.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Industrial Relations The 2003 UK Fire-fighters Strike."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Industrial Relations The 2003 UK Fire-fighters Strike

2 2 Overview i. The Fire-fighters Dispute i. Background ii. How things stand ii. The Psychological Contract i. Its use ii. Impact of violations iii. Interventions i. What should have been done ii. What can be done now

3 3 What the employers want - The Bain Report 11% pay-rise

4 4 What the employees want - the fire-fighters’ perspective 39% pay-rise

5 5 What the employers want - The Bain Report 11% pay-rise Changes to shift patterns

6 6 What the employees want - the fire-fighters’ perspective 39% pay-rise Overtime ban

7 7 What the employers want - The Bain Report 11% pay-rise Changes to shift patterns Regional Control Rooms

8 8 What the employees want - the fire-fighters’ perspective 39% pay-rise Overtime ban Parity for part-time fire-fighters and fire control staff

9 9 What the employers want - The Bain Report 11% pay-rise Changes to shift patterns Regional Control Rooms Insurance firms charged for road accidents

10 10 What the employees want - the fire-fighters’ perspective 39% pay-rise Overtime ban Parity for part-time fire-fighters and fire control staff Consultation about changes

11 11 What the employers want - The Bain Report 11% pay-rise Changes to shift patterns Regional Control Rooms Insurance firms charged for road accidents Extra medical training for fire- fighters

12 12 What the employees want - the fire-fighters’ perspective 39% pay-rise Overtime ban Parity for part-time fire-fighters and fire control staff Consultation about changes Modernisation = job cuts

13 13 Employers Minimal pay rise Dependent on expanded role Reduced public safety Reduced rights, representation and security Job Cuts Unrealistic pay rise Archaic service Social club Unrealistic pay rise Archaic service Social club Employees

14 14 How things stand Back at work £125m cost to Government 16% conditional rise Limited changes FBU’s Labour support ended

15 15 The Psychological Contract Why use the framework? – Describes and explains – Predict outcomes – Fits scenario Rousseau (1995) - “subjective beliefs regarding an exchange agreement between the individual and the organisation”

16 16 How would you feel? Reports leaked to media dismiss Occupational Psychology as pseudo- science nonsense

17 17 Employer Violations Increased ‘wants’, static ‘offer’ Reneging on promise Imposing change Out-group degradation “Independent” report – “They already had a real independent report which has remained buried because they did not like what they had read. What a waste of money”

18 18 Employee Violations Anti-role behaviour – Striking – Reduced citizenship

19 19 Consequences of Violations Transactional vs. Relational – “I didn't start this job because it was well paid, but because it was a good thing to do” – “When I first joined I lived and breathed being a fire-fighter” – “It’s just a job now” – “If they pay us, we'll ride the new anti-terrorist appliances we've trained for”

20 20 Consequences of Violations Equity – “The government are throwing money at the police because they needed to swell the number of recruits…they get a much better deal” – “If we were in the army…our salary might be the same but we would also be getting living accommodation, cheap food, help with schooling” – “Everyone in the fire service is affected by this (pay) agreement and nobody has had the increase they were promised, except the chief fire officers”

21 21 Consequences of Violations Power imbalance – McLean, Parks and Kidder (1994) – “As long as fire-fighters and their representatives are treated with contempt and we don’t get the right to negotiate, there will be strikes” – “We're up against a very ruthless machine of spin, and few of us now see success on that horizon” – “The only reason most members have voted to accept the offer is because it's the last opportunity where we can have some input on the outcome of the deal”

22 22 Consequences of Violations Procedural Justice – Lind & Tyler (1988) Get Safe, Get Out, Get Even (Herriot & Pemberton, 1995) Increased Turnover?

23 23 Consequences of Violations Morale – “I can honestly say that in my 17 years of experience, even after all the misery of the picket lines, the morale of the "modernised" fire-fighter is at an all-time low”

24 24 Intervention - What should have been done Truly Independent report Consultation Negotiation – Contracting Transitions

25 25 Business Environment Organization ’ s wants and offers Organization ’ s offers Organization ’ s wants changed? Contract fair? Contract kept? Social Environment Individual ’ s wants and offers Individual ’ s offers Individual ’ s wants changed? Contract fair? Contract kept? Stage 1 Inform Stage 2 Negotiate Stage 3 Monitor Stage 4 Renegotiate or exit Contracting Transitions (Herriot, Hirsh & Reilly, 1998)

26 26 Intervention - Repairing the damage Trust – competency – transparency/honesty – concern for my welfare – reliability “Mutual trust is a fundamental component of social capital, without which voluntary collaboration in organizations is impossible” Herriot, Hirsh & Reilly (1998)

27 27 Intervention - Repairing the damage Rebuilding Trust (Herriot et al., 1998) – Admission by top management – Career contracting – ‘Knowledge-based’ trust – Trust based on identification

28 28 Summary Top-down failures Change as negotiation process Psychological Contract as a framework Not limited to fire-fighters Communication, Communication, Communication

29 29 Update: What the employers want now

30 30 Update: What the employees want now


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