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Does strike action undermine employers trust in staff?

February 9, 2009

As the industrial dispute spreads over the use of foreign labour at the Lindsey Oil Refinery we should reflect on how this action might affect our own workforce.

Industrial desputes if not managed carefully can erode trust between employees and employers

Industrial desputes if not managed carefully can erode trust between employees and employers

The absence of strikes in recent years has given employers an opportunity to regain their employees trust.  Most employees don’t believe their employer is simply out to exploit them with no regard for them as a person.  Initiatives such as employee engagement surveys, team building days and employee incentives have all helped to strengthen the relationship between the worker and the company.

Action like wildcat strikes can begin to erode the Psychological Contract that is so important.  Especially in an era when many roles rely largely on the individual to choose to serve the businesses best interests, without close supervision.  And of course it can work both ways, the millitant soundbites from striking workers do little to support the diligent work ethic that most of us take to the office every day.

Let’s not forget that just because one employer is in a dispute with its workforce, its not to say that all staff are work shy and all employers are exploitative.

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