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Historically there has been a long relationship between employees and employers which has transformed and shaped in various ways over the years. By definition employment relations refers to the relationship between the administration and the human resources of an organization (Tan, 2007). It is true that human need to look for a job and work in order to make a living. It is worth noting that organization provide work for staff to carry out tasks and duties, pay them wages/salaries for such services while the organization get a return/benefits from the services or goods it sales. According to Schregle, 1981 the concept involves issues such as policies, procedures as well as a number of guidelines and practices usually adopted by organizations in a given country. Corporate culture is responsible for shaping the relationship between workers and their employers.
It is worth noting that the relationship has not been smooth throughout the history. Employers have fought for some rights they deem could ensure that the relationship exhibit equity. Despite this desire, how equity is viewed make the whole scenario more complex as it take a myriad of forms ranging from being involved in making decisions to compensation (Chia, 1995). Equity has a broader definition but for the sake of this paper, the terms have different connotations to various individuals ranging from proper reward of talents, gender balance, reduced injuries and death from place of work, active involvement, among others. It generally refers to a set of standards used in employment that are fair in respect to human dignity, sanctity of individual life as well as liberty covering how individuals are treated and results in terms of goods and services.
There are countries that have developed mechanisms that are aimed at affecting the employment relationship involving the administration or management and their staff. The relationship can either address issues or concerns deemed to be collective or personal issues within a given institution. The relationship is always thought of being good and healthy if both parties feel that there is some evidence of equitability (Bishop, et al 1992). When the competing human needs/rights are addressed by balancing equity, efficiency and voice the employment relationship is thought of being healthy. The paper thus seek to critically evaluate how equitable is the employment relation in Singapore. This is done by arguing that indeed employment relations in Singapore are not equitable (Tan, 1999).
Approaches to equity
Employment relation in Singapore
It is worth noting that to clearly establish whether an employment relationship is equitable or not is a difficult task considering the varied approaches and views pertaining equity in such a relationship (Chwee-Huat, 1996). It is no doubt that there have been efforts to ensure that the two-employers and employees are in a relationship believed to be healthy and equitable. The argument to support that Singapore has no equitable employment relationship is guided by the definition of equity "the fair treatment of human beings in a work place free from arbitrary decisions, discrimination, favoritism, and free from reliance only on the narrowest measures of short-run contributions to productivity" (Meltz's 1989).
In any country, human resource management policies as well as practices opt to foster good career development, management styles centered towards workers, open and effective sharing of information, effective recruitment plans among others (Whitehouse, 2003). It is apparent that Singapore has not adopted these strategies as most of the organization performance and success as well as success in terms of attaining organizational objective is wanting. It is worth noting that Singapore's policies and practices focuses in technology adoption. Such policy has made workers to receive very little or no attention at all hence have low morale as their potential are not adequately utilized since they lack room to put in practice the innovations they posses (Handy, 1990).
It has been agreed that active involvement of employees within an organization is inevitable if such organization need to outperform its competitors. These give employees a chance to own the decisions arrived at hence hold greater responsibility for the outcomes. Additionally, sharing of information is one important aspect that fosters equity at workplace (Lorenz, 1992). In Singapore, the authority opts to be respected and this has made it very difficult for workers to question or suggest directly to their employers while in a formal meeting. However, there are a number of organizations that have strived to develop a much less structure that is formal in which employees air their views. Workers can privately meet with their bosses and share burning issues. The problem with this system is that here are chances that the individual doing this can be compromised by being given a kick-back or even sacked (Chen et al. 1992).
Most of the organization is Singapore still use the traditional approach in handling human resources. This means that the center is in economic productivity instead of nurturing their innovation, creativity and knowledge application. Such initiatives have left employees working for longer and overtime with minimal overtime pay a time other organization make workers go home without pay for the overtime (Budd, 2004).
As suggested by Edwards, 1994 although the country has tried in ensuring that discrimination is addressed, there are a number of organization that offer unfair rewards to its employees on basis of gender. Most companies use the policy employment at will which has made it possible for employers to unjustly dismiss a worker without following due process. There are instances and cases of job seekers being treated unfairly due to their nationality, race, age and gender. For instance, when workers go for a strike, they are dismissed in a manner that they cannot even enjoy benefits related to being deprived off the job. All these make Singapore not being equitable in employment relations and thus need to do something to address the problem.
Arguing from Kant's and Aristotle point of view, human opt to be treated in a manner that is just and they have the moral right to pursue basic human abilities but at the same time work and live till the end of their lives in a normal way. Industries in Singapore have not yet adopted policies and laws that foster safety and health of workers. This has posed them to great risks and hazards that are both physical and psychological (Drucker, 1993). Although Singapore is not well known to provide training and career development, minimum efforts put forward clearly depict that there are serious cases of favorisim and discrimination as women are not being given 'equal' chances like their males counterparts.
Generally speaking, the relationship between employers and employees is not centered or focused to workers. The emphasis is on production which has led to there being a number of inequities in the relationship which has raised concerns (Schein, 1995).
Benefits of equitable employment relation
Equitable employment relation among the employees and the employees are very important. This is because a strategic priority is laid in place to ensure that the employees are taken as equal according the level of the work that they are engaged in. According to National Association of Social Workers 2003, equitable employment ensures that a country is rated against a certain excellent measure to establish its level of equitable level in the employment. This determines the satisfaction that the employees get in the work place and thus determining their performance in their workplace.
Therefore, it is important for any country to create equitable working conditions to their people to ensure that they increase their production level through creating job satisfaction. By valuing employee's dignity and respecting their diversity, a country or any organization is able to put them in a more competitive edge creating a good base for their long-term growth and to be able to uphold change (United States. Bureau of Employment Security 1943). These are some of the things that Singapore should ensure all the companies and the organization adheres to in their country to make the employees able to give their best for the longest time possible.
Rationality in the employment equity
According to the government of Singapore, there are still many things that need to be done to business sector to ensure that they make this sector a big success to be able to compete fully to other countries. More transformation and management of diversity that will lead to successful business need to be created to ensure that the business sector is kept at a competitive edge. Through intensive and diversified management, stronger, cohesive and productive business sector will be formed that will make this sector sustain its competitiveness for long time. A good rationale method ensures that the government lowers the staff turnover in the entire business sector. This makes them have stronger client approach and feels satisfactory stakeholder orientation making more investors to feel comfortable in investing in Singapore.
Social and moral rationale
According to Briar-Lawson & Lawson 2001, Social and moral aspects of the employees are paramount in the working places and they should be taken with a lot of seriousness. According to the research done in Singapore, the country though has tried to deal with this, has not completely exhausted it. There still a lot to be done regard with developed countries like US and Japan among others. They should ensure that they tighten their take in ensuring employment equity in ensuring that the companies and organizations uphold moral and social responsibility to their employees.
Due to some of the lamentation of the employees who complain of not having equitable approach in their working places, it is therefore evident that more has to be done in these areas in Singapore. The government in conjunction with the organizations that are offering employments in the country are out to address institutionalized discrimination that has been there degrading moral values of the workers. The institutions have to be made to eliminate the barriers that have been harboring equity development in the working places to ensure that the workers performance in the industry is boosted for performance sustenance. There should also be purpose strives towards creation of value system that ensure respect has been built to ensure human dignity of all the employees. In ensuring that this is done, it is very important that human resources development among the workers is established, equity inclusion at all level in the employment, openness and respect of human rights and dignity in the working arena is paramount (Cihon & Castagnera 2008).
Basic principles in equity approach
Employment equity is based on various principles. These principles when uphold by the stakeholders in the employment places, ensures that there are competitive advantages in the work places and morale of the employees is at per always. Some of the principles that should be integrated in the approach of the equity in Singapore are as follows.
This is where the government and the stakeholder in the sector of employment uphold research to ensure that they establish problems that are affecting the workers. The research creates a drive towards creating favorable environment for the workers to work in. the government of Singapore has not done enough to ensure that this is done. Most of the freedom that is enjoyed by organization in Singapore makes this not to happen making the employees suffer in expense of them making profit.
This is where the welfare of the employees is catered for through development of their skills. This is done through recruitment and in appointment of different processes that ensures that employees are developed in all aspects of their working places. Through this, employees are made to be worth in for as long as they are working through increasing their performance. They are made to advance their career and their skills.
Equity in places of work
This approach will ensure that all the people are capable of accessing employment at all level. There should be no barriers in this to ensure that the development of future labor force is put in place. Fair and just employment procedure should be used where there is no discrimination of people in terms of gender, race, religion, ethnicity, political stand or any from of discrimination (International Labour Office 2004). According to the government of Singapore there, still other contentious issue that it has not completely cleared and portray it so conspicuously in the employment places. If such things are tackled by using the postulated approaches, employee performances will be boosted and sustained reducing labor turn over at great heights.
From the review of employment relation in Singapore, it is evident that the country needs s to do a lot to address the problem of equity in employer-employee relationships. There are clearly evidence that there are some instances of discrimination, lack of active involvement of employees in decision making, poor communication, unequal opportunities for training and career development among others. Thus Singapore opt to develop and implement laws, policies, guidelines and procedures that will foster equity in the relationship between employers and employees for a better society and country in this age of globalization. Nonetheless, it has been noted that equity in employment relation although it bears different meaning to different people and stakeholders in the field of employment, do have a number of benefits to both the employer, employees, the government as well as the whole society.