how you would handle relations with the employees and trade unions



DanTronics is a high street electronics outlet based in Stevenage, Hertfordshire for which you are the Human Resources Manager. It sells electric domestic goods such as TVs, Washing Machines, Fridges and Computers and belongs to a larger chain that has forty-three other stores around England and Wales.

Unfortunately, in 2020 and early 2021 demand was hit hard by Covid-19 and national lockdown as people could no longer purchase in-store. DanTronics sought to expand its online sales department in response, but simply could not keep up. The company had never specialised on online or telephone sales before and although some of the existing staff at the branch were retrained to deal with these, some became demotivated and left, whilst others struggled to adapt for different reasons. A recruitment process is underway to fill some of these vacancies. Sadly DanTronics lost a lot of business to Amazon, Ebay and other rivals.

There are 86 workers employed at the store. The majority are permanent and full-time (Core) staff, with some part-time workers, three on graduate training programmes and a handful on zero hours contracts. A small number have worked there for thirty years and are over 60 years old. The cleaning staff are outsourced to an agency.

The workplace recognises USDAW, the shopworkers union and the store has a union presence. Employment relations are cordial, but sometimes tense. According to the company’s policy analysts, High Street sales in their stores are expected to recover in eighteen months’ time after it is hoped that the pandemic will end and economic growth is restored.


As a result of lost net sales, the company’s Regional Manager and CEO are considering making redundancies in its warehouse, transport and backroom departments as part of cost-cutting measures at its Stevenage store. Sales staff are not affected, in fact the CEO decided to expand staffing in this area as online sales are starting to recover. A number of nearby stores in the same chain in Brent Cross and Luton have not been affected as badly and there are no planned layoffs in any department.

The union has already stated that it will not accept any job cuts although their bargaining power has been reduced as some of the workforce had been furloughed until March 2021. Almost all the remaining workers work from home unless involved in delivery or warehouse roles. Meanwhile, the Store Manager, Janet wants to do all she can to preserve the existing personnel but is coming under pressure from the Regional Managers (who in turn report to the CEO) to shed jobs.


Write a report as the Human Resources Manager to the Chief Executive and the senior management explaining what your approach would be in handling this situation from an HR perspective. In your report, include:

a)    how you would handle relations with the employees and trade unions

b)    how you would resolve the retraining problem

c)    whether any interventions would differ depending on categories off staff (terms of employment, age, length of service etc).

d)    Please also reference any legislation that you may need to be aware of

Prepare your answer by researching the issues before you come into the exam. You will need to show evidence that you have read the relevant chapters in the core text book as well as other relevant books and journal articles.

Evidence of reading and research for preparing your answer to this question is required. You do this by referencing your sources. You are not allowed to bring any notes into the exam room with you. (20 marks)


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