Despite problems in the industry QualTex is surviving. It makes clothes for well-known supermarket chains, and given the explosion of this part of the market, is managing to turn a respectable profit 2.
The company has a reasonable reputation as a local employer, the rates of pay are good for the area, and it has an unproblematic industrial relations record (at least there haven’t been any strikes in the last ten years). However, it does have a high labour turnover, there have been some worrying health and safety issues and a couple of serious accidents at the factory in recent months. It also has a reputation as an ‘old-fashioned’ place to work. All issues to do with personnel and industrial relations have been managed by the Managing Director and his PA.
The PA keeps the personal records of all employees and the MD has published a number of Personnel Policies to cover ‘Absence’, ‘Discipline’ and ‘Regulations on wearing Personal Protective Clothing at work’. The MD expects the section managers to ‘manage’ the people issues in the factory 3. What are completely missing are any training, learning and development activity other than the minimum of health and safety training, and some cursory induction training on appointment.
Focused Point # II:
The workforce of the factory has recently been stunned by the news, which was announced by the Managing Director on 1 December last year. The announcement was as follows:
‘In order to ensure the survival of QualTex in these difficult times for the textile industry, the company will merge with Grimshaw ‘s Fabric Company with effect from 1 January 2007. This is not a take over, but must be seen as a new partnership of long-standing successful Lancashire Textile manufacturers. The merged company will be registered at Company’s House under the new name of ‘Grimshaw’s Quality Textiles’.
This is a startling development. Grimshaw’s is a highly successful textile manufacturer, which has modernised its plant and streamlined its production at its factory in Accrington. Unit costs are kept to a minimum, employees are paid minimum wage rates, but are part of a profit-sharing scheme and get good payouts at two crucial points in the year, immediately before the summer shutdown for ‘Accrington holidays’ and again before Christmas. Health and Safety records appear to be good, with a reduction of ‘incidents’ since 2004. There have been some difficulties with industrial relations and there was recently a walkout by employees protesting about the low level of pay 4.
Focused Point # III:
The threat of losing last year’s Christmas profit share bonus brought everyone back to work very quickly. The management of Grimshaw’s has a reputation for being tough. "If your face doesn’t fit…you ‘re out’ is a frequent complaint amongst Grimshaw’s employees.
Grimshaw’s employs a Personnel Manager who is responsible for the issue and implementation of personnel policies and