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Collective Bargaining and Unions - Essay Example

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Running Head: EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS Name of student: Topic: Employment Relations Lecturer: Date of Presentation: Introduction Muharukua and Vries (2009 p. 50) define a trade union as “a workers’ organization which represents workers in their dealings with management and owners of a firm.” It also deals with the state in formulating labour policies and negotiating national wages…
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Collective Bargaining and Unions
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Download file to see previous pages Traditionally, trade unions were very powerful in championing employee rights hence were viewed as adversaries by the management but nowadays the management has realised the need to partner with them. Though collective bargaining is an effective way of ensuring favourable working conditions, the employment context has changed and new ways of handling employee issues have emerged such as the human resource management approach which views workers as assets hence partnering with them in realisation of the organization aims (Wilton, 2011). The question that begs an answer is; which is the most appropriate approach to employment relations in a dynamic and turbulent environment? This requires us to delve into the benefits of having strong unions and the disadvantages as well as the HRM approach to employment relations. Collective bargaining and a strong role for unions have various implications on the various actors in employment relations such as the employees, employers, trade unions and the state. In Britain, trade unions had a lot of power before the conservative government took over power. The players in British employment relations include the Trade Union Congress, European Union, staff associations, state, employee representatives, and employers among others (Armstrong, 2009). ...
They also help to settle disputes by participating in disciplinary and grievance hearings, legal representation for members, ensuring health and safety standards are maintained and ensuring job security by protecting them against unlawful dismissal. Trade unions can effectively bargain for improved wages and benefits for workers but what does this imply for the employer? If it results in higher wages than equilibrium wages in the market, the employer is unable to compete effectively in the highly competitive global market hence may be forced out of business or reduce production (Hyman, 2001). Moreover, increased wages lead to high production costs thus reduced output which may force the employer to cut labour costs by reducing the number of employees. This is a disadvantage to the employees as they lose income. For unions, increased wages means increased returns for them although a reduction in membership means loss of returns. Sometimes collective bargaining does not end up in an agreement hence conflicts arise. A strong union may influence members to go on strike until their demands are met or stay on the job but slow their production (Singh, 2010).This leads to great losses for the employer due to reduced productivity or lost production. For example, British Airways strike in 2010 led to disruption of flights from Heathrow airport hence massive losses due to cancellation of flights and loss of consumer confidence. Trade disputes are therefore inevitable where unions are strong. Collective bargaining determines the relationship between employee and employer through an agreed employment contract (Torrington et al. 2011). This may limit workplace flexibility which is much needed in today’s ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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