What to do with a worker’s red cir­cle pay

Business World - - Labor&management - One, re­clas­sify the red cir­cle em­ploy­ees as su­per­vi­sors. Two, con­duct an in­dus­try salary sur­vey. Three, pro­hibit the red cir­cle work­ers from do­ing over­time work. Last, im­prove the ma­te­rial and non-ma­te­rial ben­e­fits of all su­per­vi­sors. Send feed­back or any

Ihave two non-man­age­ment em­ploy­ees who are re­ceiv­ing salaries which are a bit higher than what a ju­nior su­per­vi­sor gets. This is due to the work­ers’ length of ser­vice and the an­nual across-the-board pay in­creases un­der the Col­lec­tive Bar­gain­ing Agree­ment.

The trou­ble is that our hu­man re­source depart­ment is drag­ging its feet on our re­peated re­quests in cor­rect­ing the in­jus­tice. What’s the best so­lu­tion for this? – Do­ing their Job.

One evening, a young man went to the home of the girl he had been dat­ing reg­u­larly for more than one year. Tonight was the night. He asked her to marry him. Be­ing very prac­ti­cal, the young woman replied: “When you have at least one mil­lion in the bank, I will se­ri­ously con­sider it.”

One year later, the two strolled hand in hand through a park. He stopped to kiss her hand, of­fered her an en­gage­ment ring and asked: “Will you marry me?” She in­quired: “Well, you re­mem­ber my con­di­tion. Just how much have you saved?”

He re­sponded: “Ex­actly, P150,000.00.” She sighed and smiled. “Oh well, I guess that’s close enough to one mil­lion! At least, you tried.”

Do­ing some­thing is bet­ter than do­ing noth­ing or de­lay­ing. “At least, you tried” is wel­come recog­ni­tion of one’s ef­fort even if it falls short of ex­pec­ta­tions. How­ever, I will not delve on your HR depart­ment’s de­lay in solv­ing the is­sue but rather on your ques­tion about how to solve an is­sue ad­versely af­fect­ing the morale of su­per­vi­sors.

You must un­der­stand that the real is­sue is in­jus­tice. Why would the su­per­vi­sors who are man­age­ment’s first line of de­fense be un­justly treated on mat­ters of pay? This is a sen­si­tive sub­ject that your top man­age­ment must han­dle very care­fully with rea­son­able speed. This means ap­ply­ing a great deal of diplo­macy on all con­cerned, in­clud­ing the HR depart­ment, even if it ap­pears in­com­pe­tent at first glance. Now, for the so­lu­tions, ex­plore the fol­low­ing strate­gies with the help of HR:

This is the fastest way but not nec­es­sar­ily easy to im­ple­ment, par­tic­u­larly when peo­ple refuse to be pro­moted to the su­per­vi­sory level. For one, they don’t want to as­sume the re­spon­si­bil­ity of su­per­vis­ing work­ers for so many “per­sonal” rea­sons that in­cludes be­ing el­i­gi­ble for over­time and avoid­ing the po­ten­tial for be­com­ing un­pop­u­lar with work­ers.

It is im­por­tant to re­view the per­for­mance of the red cir­cle work­ers to jus­tify their re­clas­si­fi­ca­tion to a higher job grade. If you do not con­duct a per­for­mance re­view, there’s a big chance that you will be cre­at­ing a bad prece­dent, as­sum­ing that they are not qual­i­fied for re­clas­si­fi­ca­tion or pro­mo­tion.

Re­mem­ber that these are union mem­bers. They can bring the is­sue to a griev­ance pro­ceed­ing, and can be mis­in­ter­preted as “de­fang­ing” the union, which is not ab­so­lutely cor­rect, as va­can­cies can be cre­ated and the same post can be filled up by other work­ers who will be given the chance to move to a higher grade level.

This must cover all key rankand-file po­si­tions, su­per­vi­sors and man­agers. The prob­lem with ini­ti­at­ing a spe­cial sur­vey like it is the length of time needed, plus the size­able in­vest­ment and the num­ber of com­pa­nies that are will­ing to par­tic­i­pate in the sur­vey.

That’s why it’s bet­ter to buy the lat­est sur­vey re­sults from con­sul­tants like Tow­ers Wat­son, Robert Wal­ters or Mercer, if not from the Peo­ple Man­age­ment As­so­ci­a­tion of the Philip­pines or the Em­ploy­ers Con­fed­er­a­tion of the Philip­pines that charge lower fees than the three con­sul­tants I men­tioned ear­lier.

What­ever sur­vey that you have is more than enough to help de­ter­mine the rea­son­able­ness of your cur­rent pay struc­ture. If your cur­rent salary is be­low the in­dus­try av­er­age, then you need to move fast to cor­rect the sit­u­a­tion. In the first place, I am in­clined to be­lieve that you were fully armed with such data at the time of your CBA ne­go­ti­a­tion with the union. Oth­er­wise, it would be un­think­able and reck­less for any or­ga­ni­za­tion to dis­cuss pay and perk in­creases with the union in the ab­sence of this ba­sic doc­u­ment.

Al­low­ing the con­cerned work­ers to do over­time work would ex­ac­er­bate the sit­u­a­tion. If over­time work is re­ally nec­es­sary, as­sign it to other work­ers who are re­ceiv­ing much less than the red cir­cle ones and with­out nec­es­sar­ily cre­at­ing an­other union is­sue. The whole ob­jec­tive is to show the fair­ness of this de­ci­sion by dis­tribut­ing the work­load to all em­ploy­ees, if not avoid the root cause of why over­time work is nec­es­sary in the first place.

Who knows? You may even dis­cover a so­lu­tion to a nag­ging prob­lem of hav­ing some over-friendly su­per­vi­sors and man­agers al­low­ing their work­ers to do over­time work, even if un­nec­es­sary.

As soon as the salary dis­crep­ancy is dis­cov­ered, it is best to pay a monthly cash al­lowance to the ag­grieved su­per­vi­sor. Then re­move or in­cor­po­rate the al­lowance into the ba­sic pay of the con­cerned su­per­vi­sor as soon as HR has re­solved the is­sue.

Do this as a stop­gap or per­ma­nent mea­sure de­pend­ing on the cir­cum­stances. Up­grade the su­per­vi­sors’ perks and pay as dic­tated by the lat­est in­dus­try sur­vey. The non-ma­te­rial con­sid­er­a­tions in­volve giv­ing su­per­vi­sors spe­cial con­sid­er­a­tion in pur­su­ing grad­u­ate stud­ies, or al­low­ing them com­pens­able time (say, two work­ing days a month) to do their work else­where from time to time.

An­other op­tion is to rec­om­mend them to short-term and all-ex­penses for­eign grants given by the Asian Pro­duc­tiv­ity Or­ga­ni­za­tion or the Asian Over­seas Tech­ni­cal Schol­ar­ship, among other re­lated en­ti­ties. The list of op­tions is end­less.

What­ever ac­tion you choose, it will be con­sid­ered an in­di­rect ac­cep­tance by your man­age­ment that a salary dis­crep­ancy ex­ists be­tween red cir­cle em­ploy­ees, who may re­ceive more pay due to over­time premium, and your ju­nior su­per­vi­sors.

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