Workers in the workforce face various issues in the workplace each day. These differ from encounters with management and fellow workmates. Kumar (2004) states that labour law is also known to be common law and governs the contractual relationship between the employer and employee. A contract is a legal document binding the employer and employee to satisfy the terms and conditions of the working relationship. The contract should have consideration of certain rights and liabilities that are in line with the law. The United Nations Global Compacts has set out four principles under labour standards and these include principles three to six. These principles are put in place to ensure that businesses uphold the freedom of association and effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining, the elimination of all forms of forced labour, abolition of child labour and removal of discrimination. The purpose of the report is to critically analyse the four principles of the UN Global Compact and depict the advantages and disadvantages of these principles while also finding recommendations for the businesses and stakeholders.
Main issues in the workplace
Throughout human history, different countries adapt with each and their own culture and these cultures are set by boundaries. In these various cultures, the acceptable age for employment is varied but a fact in all of them is that child slavery is not acceptable and is considered as child labour in the worst form in any country. According to Bass (2004), “child labour was almost completely reduced from the developed world, however currently, child labour still continues to rise in developing countries because of rapid population growth, high rates of unemployment, inflation, poverty, malnutrition, bad leadership, 14 corruption and low wages”.
There are many factors contributing to child labour and one of the main causes is poverty, (Bhat& Rather,2009). This either happens due to the family of the child living in the worst conditions and as a result resorting to seeing their child as a contributor to their family income by releasing them into the labour force, which is illegal of course. Basu (1998) uses a theoretical model which also states the reason for sending their children into labour is due to low income. Child labour is spread out across the world and is mainly spread across Africa and Asia. According to Edmonds and Pavcnik (2005), to tackle the issue of child slavery/child labour, the focus/drive should be to tackle poverty as a main solution as this is the main cause of child slavery. Other factors contributing to child slavery are family size, family condition and traditional or cultural factors.
To curb the issue of child labour, Countries must come together and implement/strengthen laws that deal directly against the use of child labour, mainly in clothing and footwear factories, for example, in Senegal, parents were sending their children to Qur’anic schools called daaras where education was promised but due to the mass number of daaras, children were being exploited and forced to go the streets and beg for money for their spiritual teacher in the daara known as a marabout.
According to Montoya (2002), collective bargaining is explained as the “expression of a agreement freely adopted by workers’ and employers’ representatives by virtue of their collective autonomy”. When collective agreements were originally introduced, the main issues to be regulated were working days and wages. Currently due to the increasing number of issues that happen in the workplace this has now changed. Issues such as employment relationship (working days, salary, reconciliation of work and family life, prevention of labour risks, etc) and economic issues such as the company’s employment policy and outsourcing policies are also now being regulated.
Employees face the dilemma of being afraid to form the group or union to face management as they are afraid to lose their jobs. An opposing statement is stated by Harcourt and Wood (2008) where it suggests that companies take advantage over employees by not allowing them or stating in their contract of employment that an employee may not join any collective union as this directly toxic and harming to the company as issues will arise and the management will always be in overflowing collective bargaining meetings.
This is a global compact issue because employees deserve for their rights to be adhered to respectfully and legally without being taken advantage of. The benefits of collective bargaining include the strict adherence to overtime pay, minimum salaries and annual pay increases as per stated by contract, being awarded merit pay for outstanding performance and increasing benefits or introducing them, if not introduced by management (Hall,1998). Therefore, Collective bargaining is a great tool for members of the workplace to be heard by management and for their issues to be recognised. This issue can be curbed by collectively as different employees putting pressure on the government to strengthen laws that don’t allow companies to take advantage of their workers.
Discrimination, and not only in the workplace, creates pain amongst everyone facing its wrath. It undermines ones character and in the workplace creates a working environment that is uncomfortable between employers and employees. Mays (1996) states that as far as the 1940’s, Discrimination has made even those who commit it unaware of their actions. Over the years, different laws have been put in place and many programmes have been introduced into the workplace to try and curb discrimination and promote an appreciation of diversity.
Ataov (2002) states that “Direct discrimination happens when an employer treats an employee less favourably than someone else because of one of the above reasons. Indirect discrimination is when a working condition or rule disadvantages one group of people more than another.” An example can be a female employee earning a higher salary than their male counterpart despite being employed to do the same job. Another form of employee discrimination is that based on sexual orientation which is harassment or being treated in a different manner due to being perceived or being an actual gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or heterosexual orientation.
To curb the issue of discrimination, employees must be educated about discrimination, as this will help them speak out for themselves if they are ill-treated. Workers themselves have an obligation to respect others and their differences as this creates a good working environment for them. Inappropriate behaviour, whether any party, must be handled and reported following correct protocol as this may backfire back on them and also the concept of confidentiality must be taken into account. A workplace policy could be implemented to prohibit any type of discrimination in the workplace while also offering training programs on how to handle discrimination if it occurs and the workplace policy must be properly enforced and regularly be reviewed to ensure its effectiveness.
Taking responsibility of any situation is important as voices must be properly heard in the workplace instead of living a life of abuse and fear.
In life all our choices we as human beings take reciprocate with consequences and those consequences can be good or bad. The way we treat human beings must be how one would like to receive the same treatment as this brings peace and harmony unto one another. Situations can occur such as poverty where one has no choice but to do all they can but they is always consequences to your actions, e.g Depression. Working with one another can make that much of a difference and that’s a concept that us as human beings need to implement for the world to be safe and be in peace.