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Critically appraise union strategies to involve women and minority groups - Assignment Example

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Critically appraise union strategies to involve women and minority groups Over the past thirty years the feminist history has experienced an advance, but despite this progress the traditional belief of excluding the women from the formation of trade union still prevails…
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Download file to see previous pages (Reynolds, 2006, p.187) Thirty years ago, the Working Women Charter in Australia coined the slogan of “Women need unions need women.” The slogan pointed out the responsibility of representing women and women’s gendered needs. But most of the union leaders had problems with the women workforce participation in the union. The most significant agenda of equal pay for both the sexes was going on for over a century in the world economy and even then it has been noticed that the male union leader had stood by the employer while denying equal pay for women (Rea, 2005, p.50). Not only women are under-represented in the trade union, the union has also failed to represent the minority ethnic community. The trade union has always demonstrated a racist attitude towards the ethnic minorities. In the 20th century the trade unions developed a politics of unity, but it was always constrained by the ethnic understandings of the workforce. The unity in the union workforce has always been constrained by protecting the gains and growth among workers. Recently there has been an effort concerning industrial relations, philosophy of rights, racisms, and social inclusion (Lucio & Perrett, 2007, p.4; Healy, Bradley and Mukherjee, 2003). The trade union in the recent past has started addressing these issues in a more supportive and strategic manner. The paper discusses the union’s effort towards inclusion of women and minorities in the workforce. The survival of the union depends upon the expansion of the trade union. In order to expand the trade union’s recruitment the traditional areas have to include the service sector in its domain. The inclusion of women in the trade union would also ensure the expansion of the same. The trade unions have recognized the under representation of women in the union structures and hence adequate measure have been taken in UK and worldwide to redress the imbalance. In UK seats have been reserved for women in the union structure and proportionality has also been adopted. Despite such likely transformation the trade union are highly characterized as patriarchal. The major priority of all the trade union now is the recruitment. The trade union has experienced a steep decline in its membership since 1979. It was at its peak of around 13 million memberships which decreased down to seven million- that is only one third of the employees. UK witnessed a major restructuring in the economic and the labor market, where the manufacturing industries were heavily unionized with male domination, and the industries were undergoing a severe contraction, where as the service sector was mostly dominated by female and the sectors were less unionized as compared to the manufacturing sectors. In the phase of the social and economic changes the trade union had failed to recruit new members from the expanding sectors thus resulting in a decreasing union membership. (Kirton and Haley, 1999, p. 31) The gender gap in the union membership has narrowed down from eleven percentage points in 1990 to five percentage points in 1996. In UK the women membership is around 40 percent of the total union membership. The recruitment policies of the union have undergone a change in order to attract more women members and thereby retain them. (Kirton and Haley, 1999, p. 32) It is also noteworthy that over the last three decades most part of the global south has undergone an event known as the “ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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