Employee Relations and Trade Unions
Employee relations can be defined as an organization’s effort to manage and improve relationships between its employees and the employers. It is evident that Employees are the backbone of every organization and business, however, unlike machines that diligently work at the push of mere button employees need to have a flexible working environment so as to be effective (Dicker 2003, pg 24). For instance, employees need support from the management to solve their issues and share ideas. For this reason, it is vital for managers to grant comfortable working environments to employees so that they can be comfortable with each other and work collaboratively as a team for a common goal.
Thus, to achieve this, organizations should implement employee relationship procedures and programs as programs provide consistent and fair treatment to all the employees.
Different organizations have different employee relations programs that align with their business environment. These employee relations procedures cover grievances, disciplinary matters, redundancy, job grading, and union recognition procedures. Employee relations procedures curb grievances when employees raise complaints about the behaviors of the employers. Therefore, implemented procedures prevent and resolve any potential conflicts in the workplace since the programs offer a uniform working ground (Bacon & Storey 2000 pg 72). For example, with successful implementation employee relationship procures, employers and employees can cooperate and collaborate to avoid potential minor and major conflicts. I essence, this grants employees a voice of influence and builds trust and loyalty to the organization. Employee relations procedures also handle disciplinary matters, for instance, an event that the employee complains about an employees behavior. This becomes possible because employee relation procedures offer fair and reasonable standards of behavior that result in a peaceful resolution of issues that arise between them (Dicker 2003 pg 79). Therefore, it offers an effective platform for employer and employers to accomplish their organizational mission through diverse collaborative aspects. Such disciplinary measures also help organizations to improve productivity and profitability. Employee relations procedures further resolve redundancy issues when organizations need to reduce the size of the workforce. This ensures that the employers grant adequate notice to its employees so that they can psychologically prepare for their lives ahead. Solving redundancy issues also means that the procedures oblige employers to duly compensate employees so that they can cater for their bills as they go job hunting. Therefore, unlike in the past where employees were left stranded after redundancy, the present employee relations programs ensure that their future is considered and catered for. Another important aspect of employee relations is that it looks at employee’s classification issues especially when they raise issues regarding salary increment and renewal of employment responsibilities (Ngo, Lau, and Foley 2008 pg 93). The procedure influences the employer’s employment package by mandating them to set up standardized responsibilities for each employee and compensate them according to their responsibilities. This curbs the situation where employees work longer hours for little pay. Lastly, the employee relations procedures heed to employees requests for union presentation. Such procedures grant rights to employees to register for labor unions that will represent them when they have diverse issues against their employees or organizations.
The purpose of the trade unions is to offer employees a platform to access equal bargaining power with their employers. Traditionally, employers had the capability to set the terms and conditions of its workers pay and work procedures. Such powers attracted the need for an equal playing ground and organization of workers led to the formation of trade unions (Schulze-Cleven, 2017 pg 38). Trade unions are vital since they represent workers in different industries. Unions are extremely crucial to employees because they bear a greater voice compared to when employees deal with employees individually. Therefore, being labor members grant employees a platform to bargain collectively through their chosen labor union representatives. Shop stewards Shop stewards or employee representatives are employees of a particular organization who represent and defend the interest of his or her fellow employees in the context of a labor union official and members. Therefore, they are elected representatives of union members in a workplace (Schulze-Cleven, 2017 pg 82). The role of a shop steward is to represent union members by taking up grievances, negotiating issues and highlighting the decisions of workers to the management. They also monitor the management’s actions in order to define whether they stick to agreements and decisions made during negotiations.
Trade Union Congress Trade Union Congress bears the definition of an umbrella group that represents trade union groups in England and Wales. The Trade Union Congress establishment dates back to 1868. Presently, TUC harbors 6 million members form fifty affiliated unions. The major role of the TUC is to bring together labor unions so that they can draw up common policies and lobby the government (Schulze-Cleven, 2017 pg 88). Additionally, the TUC empower unions to campaign as well as represent British workers on the international framework within the EU and within the international labor organization.
The term management refers to a set of activities carried out by individuals who bear executive and decision-making responsibilities in an organization. Management focuses on the management roles of managers in regards to their responsibilities towards the effectiveness of the organization (Schulze-Cleven 2017 pg 101). Therefore, a company’s management should promptly heed employees needs in order to enhance workplace relations and curb the intervention of relevant parties such as trade unions.
Employers organization or association
Employer’s organization or association is a collaborative organization that encompasses retailers, manufacturers and other vast employers of wage labor. The role of employers’ organizations is to manage the behavior of its member companies during negotiations with government bodies or trade unions (Schulze-Cleven 2017 pg 122). A prime example is the EFF, an organization that represents the voices of British manufacturers both in the UK and in entire Europe. EFF represents more than 5,000 businesses and 2,000 direct members.
The Confederation of British Industry
The Confederation of British Industry is a UK business organization that represents 190,000 businesses. The organization works with international legislators, government and policymakers with an aim of helping businesses to effectively compete and enhance the economic growth.
Explain the unitary and pluralistic frames of reference by reviewing the perspectives by the stakeholders in the employee relations Unitary frame of reference refers to a way of thinking or a mindset of diverse values, attitudes, assumptions, and practices that relate to organizational management and its membership. The perspective bears the notion that in order for members of any organization to achieve success, they must share the same goals and objectives. This should apply despite that different member in an organization carry out different roles (Gennard and Judge 2005 pg 72). The reason behind such an assumption is that the unitary perspective is expressed through the implementation of the mission statement. For this reason, employees are presumed to be loyal while the management is accepted as parental.
Pluralistic perception presumes that an organization comprises of powerful and different sub-groups. Every group bears its own set of objectives and leaders. These two major sub-groups are the trade unions and the management. The role of the management is deemed to focus less on enforcing and controlling and more towards coordination and influence (Farnham 2000 pg 99). Additionally, trade unions bear the assumptions of legal employee representatives and they deal with conflict through a collective bargaining. For this reason, trade unions bear the views as a perfect party that can change towards positivity if proper management is implemented.
Changes in Trade Unionism have Affected Employee Relations in the UK. The history of Trade unions in Britain date back to the 17th century since this is the period that witnessed skilled workers organizing themselves for a common goal. A century later, industrial revolution prompted a wave of new trade disputes that invited subsequent demonstrations. This pushed the government to introduce preventative measures to curb collective action on workers who seemed to have a platform to voice their work disputes. This led to the passing of the Combination Act in 1799 and 1800. This illegalized any strike actions by workers and it mandated three months imprisonment or two months of hard labor for any worker, that broke the law. Such threats did not deter workers from pressing for better pay and better working conditions throughout 1800n and early 1900 (Fernie and Metcalf 2013 pg 149). During this period, trade unions grew rapidly due to subsequent violent protests. Trade unions gained momentum and its pressure led to the Combination Act in 1928. Trade unions also became influential because employers were unwilling to treat workers’ representatives as part of their equals. By mid-1990s, the growth of trade unions was not as overwhelming as expected because political movements such as Chartism emerged and overshadowed them. Despite such setbacks, a foundation of a powerful trade union was implemented in the 1960s and trade unions rose again and inflicted its influence. The members of the movement rose to 1 million by 1874.
Moreover, changes in trade unions foresaw the rebirth of new unionism, which allowed employee organizations to cover millions of unskilled workers in Britain. Women trade societies also emerged in which Britain witnessed a historical strike organized by female workers at the Bryant & May factory (Fernie and Metcalf 2013 pg 133). At the onset of the early 20th century, trade unions grew and attained more influence than ever before. Due to its collaboration with the political field, the influence of trade unions grew further in early 1900 when labor unionists joined parliament in large numbers. By the end of the 1990s, trade unions lacked the initial influences and the trend has been going on to date. Contemporary British Unionism Trade unions make up the largest democratic movement in Britain since it represents over 6.5 million workers. Despite its size, unionism in Britain is losing its influence due to various factors. For instance, globalization of the workforce has inflicted new challenges to labor union because it weakens the collective bargaining power of workers in various industries. For this reason, industrial employees can easily be replaced by a cheaper labor force that is acquired from different parts of the world (Fernie and Metcalf, 2013 pg 177). Additionally, changes in labor policies have inflicted challenges on the manner in which trade unions operate. Policies such as working hours and minimum wage bills have influenced the power of trade unions. Statistics portray that less than 30% of employees in the UK are covered by the bargaining arrangement thus, trade unions do not cover over 70% of workers. This is supported by the fact that Britain has recently experienced a number of strikes that are centered on work-life balance, pay cuts, and redundancies. Trade Union Congress Trade Union Congress bears the definition of an umbrella group that represents trade union groups in England and Wales. The three other bodies that relate to Trade Union Congress are the Wales Trade Union Council, the Scottish Trades Union Congress and The Irish Congress of Trade Unions. The Trade Union Congress establishment dates back to 1868 and since this period, it has held annual conferences of independent union principles. It also represented unions of skilled workers from 1871 to 1889 when it embraced affiliations of unskilled general unions.
European Union legislation and directives
The EU directives are legal acts possessed by the EU that mandate member states to attain particular achievements without enforcement of dictatorship means. Therefore, the directive is a legal instrument that the EU applies in implementing its policies. The major role of the directive is to harmonize national law before businesses, governments and individuals can recourse it. On the other hand, the EU legislation is a system of rules that operate within the member states of the EU. The EU legislation forms the ground rules for all of EU’s actions. Importance of effective bargaining procedures of trade unions Trade unions acts as the bargaining agent when there is a deadlock between employers and employees. Trade unions chip in to negotiate agreements between employees and employers regarding working conditions, salaries, benefits, compensation, and vast workers’ rights. Mandatory bargaining issues are legally allowed topics and must be negotiated by the management and the labor (Murillo, 2001 pg 172). The collective bargaining procedure results in a collective bargaining agreement commonly referred to as the CBA. Labor unions attain this impact because they possess government-protected rights that allow them to advocate for their members improved wages, better working conditions and entitlement to various employee benefits.
My perception about trade unions, and why they are prominent around the world
Trade unions are organizations that employees form so that they can represent them to solve any arising issues. The reason why they are prominent around the world is that employers are not willing to grant employees a fair playing ground in their places of work (Yates, 2009 pg 188). Most employers and management do not support their employees in diverse aspects, but rather oppress them and deprive them of their employment rights. Most employees inflict harsh working conditions, enforce long working hours and pay low wages. In order to avoid such situations, workers have come together by forming or registering in diverse trade unions (Farnham, 200 pg 182). Therefore, trade unions are important because they bear the power and legal procedures to intervene and solve issues raised by workers.
Positive effects of trade unions
Trade unions have effectively transformed the manner in which many organizations utilize employee relations. Employee relations are the efforts of organizations to manage and improve relationships between them and their employees (Bacon and Storey, 2000 pg 197). For this reason, the presence of trade unions reminds employers that their workers have a stronger representative that is concerned with any arising issue. In order to curb conflict that might arise from employee mismanagement, most organizations heed to the outlived law of paying their workers reasonably and granting them comfortable working conditions. Such considerations enhance the relationships between the employers and their employees because common goals are easily attained.
Bacon, N. and Storey, J. 2000, New Employee Relations Strategies in Britain: Towards Individualism or Partnership? British Journal of Industrial Relations, 38 (1): 407“427.
Dicker, L. 2003, Employee relations: How to build strong relationships with your employees. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.Farnham, D., & Institute of Personnel and Development. 2000. Employee relations in context. London: Institute of Personnel and Development.
Fernie, S. and Metcalf, D. 2013. Trade Unions: Resurgence Or Demise? Routledge.Gennard, J., & Judge, G. 2005, Employee relations. London: Chartered Institute of personnel and development.
Ngo, H.-Y., Lau, C.-M. and Foley, S. 2008, Strategic human resource management, firm performance, and employee relations climate in China. Hum. Resour. Manage., 47 (1): 73“90.
Schulze-Cleven, T. 2017. Collective action and globalization: Building and mobilizing labor power. Journal of industrial relations, 59 (4), 397-419.`