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Managing industrial unrest: a Caribbean conundrum 2004-54.1

19 June 2008



On 10 September 2000, Michael Adams, the General Manager of Mesopotamia Brewery Ltd, was convinced that he had serious industrial unrest on his hands. Adams was especially concerned that, after two decades of being non-unionised, several of his supervisory workers had opted to form themselves into a trade union, a move engineered by Master Brewer Thomas Williams. They had secretly planned to shut the company down to achieve their demands for increased pay and benefits. This had emerged after the Production Manager, Daniel Stapleton, had written to Williams about poor performance. Adams was convinced that many of the experienced and generally responsible supervisors engaged in the union-forming exercise were unaware that Williams had received critical memos from his immediate boss. Adams’ challenge was to ensure the well-being of his employees, while simultaneously averting the likely loss of market share and profit should the industrial action result in a general strike.

This case can be used to discuss internal communication, decision-making, and proper procedure in taking industrial action. It centres around human resources management and may be useful for students required to engage in management responsibilities, especially in manufacturing operations.

Authors: Julian (Jules) Ferdinand
Published Date: 19 June 2008
Author Institution: University of the West Indies
Featured Content Length: 9
Content Length: 8
Product Type: Case with teaching note, Part A, Primary resources