A new video-based learning resource showing how line managers can prepare for and deal with industrial action has been launched by training company Video Arts in association with Pukka Films, the corporate film production company.
Called Industrial Action: A Manager’s Guide, the resource features a 23-minute drama film that shows a manager attempting to cope before, during and after an industrial dispute. It highlights issues relating to behaviour, communication, support, consultation and disciplinary action. The accompanying course materials include discussion points and practical advice on how managers can deal with the stresses, conflict situations, dilemmas and confused loyalties that can arise in strike situations.
“Any manager who is caught in the middle of a strike will find the experience incredibly challenging,” said Martin Addison, Managing Director of Video Arts. “It’s vital that you know what’s expected of you and where the lines are drawn. This hard-hitting training resource is not a lesson in employment law, it’s a guide that can help any manager who may have to contend with a strike situation. It’s designed to help organisations to build the leadership skills that will be needed in the event of industrial action.”
The film focuses on a local depot where a strike is called, following a national union ballot. It shows the relationship between various characters before the strike and how the industrial action changes their work routines. As the manager, who is not on strike, tries to handle the situation, the film illustrates his successes and frustrations and it uncovers some of the ‘grey areas’ of industrial unrest.
As the picket line becomes more intimidating, the strike escalates into an increasingly hostile situation and the film illustrates how the dynamics of a strike can change quickly. When the strike ends and people return to work, there is some lingering animosity but the manager tries to calm the situation. This highlights that after any strike, there will be ongoing issues to be resolved and there is a need to be clear and fair with any disciplinary action.
The film, which comes with advice on running an industrial relations training programme, can be viewed in full or shown in five separate modules. Discussions can cover the manager’s actions, the support he was given and how he could have been more effective.
“Organisations can easily relate the learning points to their own environment, their own lines of communication and their own employee relations,” said Martin Addison.
Industrial Action: A Manager’s Guide is available on DVD. The resource includes additional perspectives from John Purcell, the strategic academic adviser for Acas and a research professor in the Industrial Relations Research Unit at Warwick Business School. The DVD can be rented from £195.
Additionally, the resource is available online through the Video Arts digital library. A complete e-learning course for line managers, featuring interactive questions, is also available.