Let us say that you have worked for a manufacturing company for five years and are in line for a managerial position. However, your promotion is on hold because employees are threatening to strike for better wages and benefits.
Upper management thinks you are one of those responsible for organizing the strike, but that is not true. To move forward, you must prove your innocence.
How strife develops
The term “industrial relations” has become “employment relations” because the differences that exist between management and employees extend to companies of all kinds. Problems arise when, for example, employers stifle the creativity of their employees, make them feel inferior and are inflexible with regard to their suggestions for company improvements. Employees may only see their supervisors and managers as people who are in charge of telling them what to do. If management does not implement positive steps to benefit the workers, negativity surfaces and the employees may develop an attitude of “It’s us against them.” In the company you work for, this is how the threat of a strike developed.
How employees feel
On the whole, employees want to feel that the work they do means something to the company. They like the feeling of accomplishment, but if they get little to no positive feedback, their relationship with their superiors is bound to suffer. You do good work, are known for helping others, and coworkers look up to you. If management believes you are instrumental in pushing the strike, it may be because another employee is jealous of your accomplishments and has dropped hints about your part in organizing the strike that are completely untrue.
You could always tender your resignation and look for another job, but you like the company as a whole and feel you can improve employee relations if you become a member of management. An attorney experienced with representing employees in business disputes will tell you that there are many proactive strategies that will ease tensions at the manufacturing company, clear your name, secure your good reputation and help you achieve your goals.