Trade Unions in the Workplace Can Only Have a Negative Impact on ProductivityIntroduction Trade union have always been a part of organizations; however they at times tend to out do themselves. A union usually takes part in active negotiation by making agreements with employer on the issue of pay and conditions. It might also offer legal as well as financial advice, reimbursements during illness and education services to their members. Organizations which value the trade unions, will discuss the issue of their member’s pay with those unions The main focus of this essay will be to define what a trade union is, and analyze how trade unions have an effect on productivity.
Conflict is an important word when one thinks of Industrial Relations. It can be argued that conflict is everywhere and inevitable in today's society. When one looks at workplace conflict, it can be broken down. On one side there is the employers, and on the other side, the employees. But taking a closer look reveals that there is more than meets the eyes. In today's workplace, conflict consists of employer associations, employers, government, employees and unions.
This essay will focus on the employees’ side of conflict and more notably, the trade unions that the employees join. Trade unions groups of employees which improve the working conditions for all the workers (Stewart 2005). This definition, while very basic, is in essence the main function of a trade union. When looking at the history of trade unions & it can be seen to have originated from the economic struggles between workers and employers in the nineteenth century. This means that employees for quite along time have used the many functions that the unions provide (Aldcroft etal 2000 p11). Relationships in the workplace involve conflict because of the temperament of the employer and employee relationship itself.
Pinnington and Edwards (2002) point out that managers and workers are "locked into a relationship that is contradictory and antagonistic" (p16). It is contradictory as managers try to achieve control and innovation at the same time, both of which require fairly different management approaches. The relationship is also antagonistic as managers attempt to generate a surplus from the labour of employees.
Conflict is unavoidable as employers and employees pursue their own objectives and interests (Analoui & Kakabadse, 1991 p10). Critical factors such as income distribution and job security contribute highly toward industrial conflicts (Hyman, 1989 p23). One of the hardest decisions that people have to make when experiencing dissatisfaction in the workplace is whether or not they should express this discontent (Analoui & Kakabadse, 1991 p15)Consequently, there is a tendency for the relationship between workers and employers to be a bit hostile, guided by a thinking of employers as persons only interested in not giving employees of their due in order to maximize profits.
This in turn portrays a monster like image of the employers. The leaders of these kinds of trade unions deliberately induce such thinking in the members so that there can be a negative effect on the productivity. Interestingly however, there is an emerging thinking of the two parties as social partners with a common interest in preserving the organization for their mutual benefits. Thus it can be said that the trade unions are developed to protect and support the interests of their members by making the employers their social partner.
By such a partnership the unions find a scape goat in the shape of their employers.