Employee Relations Essay

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Introduction. “A Trade union…is a continuous association of wage earners for the purpose of maintaining or improving the conditions of their working lives.” Webb and Webb 1921 Trade unions are associations that represent the collective interests of their members, the employees of the company. Trade unions are used as a tool for bargaining and negotiating power with large employers. They seek the best outcome for their members, obtaining higher wages, reduce working hours, and improve working conditions and the overall working environment. Other benefits they seek include health insurance, pensions and disability insurance. Employment security is a big issue also within trade unions and its members, and can be seen as one of the largest factors taken into consideration. Elimination of “at-will” contracts is a priority, as non-union members have been subject to dismissal without cause. Trade unions did not gain recognition until the 1930’s, but labourers first began organising collective bargaining with employers before this. It can be seen the trade unions do not market themselves well enough to employees. Not just for this reason trade union membership has had dramatic rises and falls over the years due to many factors, internal and external, please refer to table 1.1 in Appendices. “Full time employees were more likely than part-time employees to be union members at 31.7 and 21.5 per cent respectively. There are differences in union density among employees in the nations: the highest (40.4%) was in Northern Ireland and the lowest (27.9%) was in England.” www.statistics.gov.uk Employees feel completely powerless when faced up against their employer. Some employers will exploit their employees and put their health and safety at risk. It is therefore the trade unions strength – power of the collectivism – that has ultimate power to protect the rights

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