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Trade Unions and High Performance Working - Essay Example

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Name of student: Topic: Lecturer: Date of Presentation: Introduction Globalization and highly competitive environment requires that companies adopt measures that lead to high performance so as to have a sustainable competitive advantage. Since employees are the company’s assets and the key to gaining competitive advantage, the company needs to manage its workforce effectively so as achieve improved performance…
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Trade Unions and High Performance Working
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Download file to see previous pages The government also has not been left behind in passing legislations that ensure protection of worker’s rights. High performance working involves employee involvement and participation, learning and development, teamwork, information sharing, and other HR practices such as talent management, and performance management among others (Cox et al. 2006). The role of trade unions has been declining over the past two decades which bring us to the question as to whether trade union presence enables the British management to develop high performance. To answer this question, the paper will discuss the various high performances work practices in British organisations today and assess their effectiveness in absence of union representation. This is to try to show that despite declining union influence in organisations today, most of the practices require the presence of the union for them to be effective. Another issue of importance is whether an extended coverage of employee rights to offer protection to workers can be a replacement for union representation given the nature of British laws which allow discretion to management in enforcement. Over the years, women participation in employment has increased but women have yet to achieve equal treatment as their male counterparts, does this require the intervention of unions? Another key debate is the work-life balance. HRM friendly practices claim to enable workers to have flexible working so as to balance work and family life and so are legislations passed to that effect such as the Working Time Regulations, but the question is, “are workers having a satisfactory work-life balance and what is the role of the union in this matter?” Another issue worthy noting is the current revitalisation efforts by the unions especially through advocacy for lifelong learning. The paper will first give a short history of trade unions to include the structure and changing legal framework of employment relations. The paper will then cover the alternative forms of voice both individual and collective and their effectiveness as well as the legal institutions and regulation of workplaces. The increasing role of women in trade union will be discussed and finally the paper will discuss the strategies used to revitalise unions such as use of learning representatives. History of Trade Unions Trade unions in Britain can be traced back to 17th century during the time of crafts trade whereby craftsmen formed guilds to guard their trade. The system of employment relations in place at that time was voluntarism characterised by low regulation or non government intervention in employment issues. The craftspeople carried out their trades at home and engaged the services of family members as apprentices and therefore there was no need for intervention. However, industrialisation changed the nature of employment relations as work turned to the factory system where labour was impersonal. The trade unions became more organised as various guilds from different parts of the country joined to form unions so as to protect themselves from the effects of the factory system (Hyman, 2001). The role of the earliest unions was to offer mutual assistance to members and to defend their jobs and wages. As crafts trade was wiped out by ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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