Workplace relations issues

Occupational health and safety procedures, legally speaking, are necessary in any kind of employment across all industries. In recent times, the Australian media has proved any violation to these procedures is punished by means of public telecast that can shame a business owner’s corporation to ruin. Employees, even though they are paid to work by the company, have the rights to comfortable working conditions that will not threaten their very existence or put irreparable damage upon their health. Employers have the responsibility of ensuring that such comfortable environment is obtainable within their premises, otherwise, there is the law to exact justice and provided the employees are aware of their rights. This paper shall discuss occupational health and safety procedures issues that have recently made their way to the public’s attention.In this paper, three news articles shall be discussed concerning Occupational Health and Safety Procedures. First, the article “Shocking” workplace suit launched by Lawyers Weekly (2010) is about a suit filed in behalf of two women against Airservices Australia in the Federal Court and Human Rights Commission. It is important to note that Airservices Australia is a government owned and controlled corporation. The women were reported to have been refused professional training, abused verbally because of their pregnant states (not-allowed part-time employment), exposed to pornography that was distributed by management and punished for not acting per the wants of management. Second, the article Widespread Literacy and Numeracy Shortfalls Impacting on Workplace Safety First by Safe to Work (2010) discusses that literacy and numeracy is vital to workplace safety. Lastly, the article, Qantas rapped over staff training (ABC News 2010) says that the gigantic airline company, Australia’s flag carrier, has training issues related to emergency procedures and baggage handling hence WorkCover New South Wales has issued two notices of warning to Qantas to rectify this which the airline responded to immediately.The first article is certainly appalling, indeed. Airservices Australia is engaged in the business of providing air traffic services to the aviation industry of Australia. The company is in-charge of some 63 million passengers, in about 4 million flights per year (AirServices Australia, 2010). Aviation is an industry wherein lives can easily be lost due to even the minor miscalculation and oversight; with so much responsibility in its hands, the company had best straighten out its internal affairs so that the aviation industry in Australia, as well as the lives of millions of passengers, will not be penalized by its mistakes.Labor or manpower is perhaps an organization’s best asset. With strong and capable staff, even the smallest of organizations can evolve to the biggest in the industry within a few years. Labor is a good investment as any, hence, many companies believe in the philosophy that making their employee happy in terms of providing them with good compensation and benefits, as well as providing them with good working conditions can prove to be profitable and a good business decision in the future. Unfortunately, there are also many companies out there who do not see this as a good investment and as such, they treat their employees with only the minimal respect as provided by the legal confines of the nation’s jurisdiction.Gender discrimination is not allowed per Australian laws. Women have proven their worth across the centuries and in this century, a woman is empowered as well as any man. This appalling practice by a government-owned corporation is deplorable, considering that Australia’s Prime Minister is female. In fact, this same Prime Minister has been the leader of the Australian Labor Party since 2007 and this kind of treatment to women under her governance is not excusable. Nowadays, the law is protective of everyone’s rights, even women. One can only hope that this incident will not happen in the future and the media’s help in the public awareness of such a practice can only help put Airservices to right their treatment of their employees.Women must not be discriminated against and they must have the rights to all company policies on occupational hazards and safety. The treatment of male and female, even pregnant ones at that must be equal and bullying at work must not be tolerated by upper management. Such bullying can only lead to miserable working conditions that cannot possibly be good for customer service. Being a government corporation, Airservices Australia practically monopolized the air traffic services in the country’s aviation industry. It will not likely lose the number of gigantic airlines that are its clients. However, a government must practice what it preaches and occupational health and safety procedures must be implemented in its own corporations.The employer’s responsibilities towards occupational health and safety procedures are apparent and legally imposed. They are the ones who must ensure the implementation of such within their respective businesses. However, the employees have a responsibility, too. The employees must be aware of all the precautions and they cannot simply blame the employer for any misfortune that happened to them while doing their job. This is where an employee’s literacy and numeracy will become an issue. Precaution is always necessary when doing something and lack literacy and numeracy can easily compromise a person’s safety because they cannot understand all the precautions put in place.In Australia, laborers and process groups were most affected by low levels of literacy, corresponding to 45% of surveyed employers (Safe to Work, 2010). All industries are practically plagued by this problem and this poses a concern to employers who do their best to keep their employees secure. According to Safe to Work (2010), “the lack of literacy and numeracy means poor completion of workplace documents, time wasting through repeated work, ineffective work teams, materials wastage, ineffective training and miscalculation, leading to workplace injuries and unsafe work practices.”Lastly, Qantas Airways is Australia’s largest airline company with 2009 Revenues of AUD14, 552 million (Annual Report, 2009). It flies to 150 destinations all over the world and is widely-regarded as one of the world’s leading airline company. In the company’s own website (n.d.), it even boasts to be world’s best long-distance carrier and one of Australia’s top brands. It is thus, only reasonable to expect that the company has some of the best-trained staff in the industry. Any evidence to the contrary can be detrimental to the company’s reputation and given today’s cutthroat competition in the aviation industry, customers, even the most loyal ones, can easily shift preferences when it comes to the airlines they fly with.Training is detrimental to development. With America’s war against terrorism, the whole aviation industry changed. Plenty of regulations have been promulgated by various governments regarding flight safety and as such, Qantas should know better than to have undeveloped knowledge for their crew in-charge of emergency procedure. Such training must be up-to-date, for the sake of internal operations as well as customer-related issues. The staff should be well-aware of the proper baggage handling as well as security measures to not put themselves and the passengers at risk of whatever malady that can happen during flight and in the airport. Qantas must address this issue and assure the government and the public that they are well-equipped to handle all the aviation demands of today; otherwise, they are risking customer dissatisfaction, which they cannot afford, during this kind of competition in the industry.Overall, the articles say that a good working environment is crucial to the success of a business. Employers must invest in their employees’ welfare or they may suffer bad financial conditions as the working environment can easily reflect on the companies’ main source of income: sales. However, it is not just the employers with the responsibility. The employees must heed precaution given by the employers; it is imperative that they are literate and numerate so they can at least read the warnings and safety precautions promulgated by management.References:ABC News, February 27, 2010, Qantas rapped over staff training. [online] Available at: <http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/02/27/2831910.htm> [Accessed 14 August 2010].Airservices Australia, 2010, About Us, [online] Available at: <http://www.airservicesaustralia.com/> [Accessed 14 August 2010].Lawyers Weekly, July 28, 2010, “Shocking” workplace suit launched. [online] Available at: <http://www.lawyersweekly.com.au/blogs/top_stories/archive/2010/07/28/quot-shocking-quot-workplace-suit-launched.aspx> [Accessed 14 August 2010].Qantas, 2009, Annual Report. [online] Available at: <http://annualreport.qantas.com.au/> [Accessed 14 August 2010].Qantas, n.d., Our Company. [online] Available at: <http://www.qantas.com.au/travel/airlines/company/global/en> [Accessed 14 August 2010].Safe to Work, June 10, 2010, Widespread Literacy and Numeracy Shortfalls Impacting on Workplace Safety. [online] Available at: < http://www.safetowork.com.au/Content/articles/Widespread-literacy-and-numeracy-shortfalls-impact.aspx> [Accessed 14 August 2010]. 

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