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Should unions continue to be combative in relationships with employers?
I believe that trade unions should not have combative relationships with the employers. The relationship between the trade unions and employers is known as an industrial relation. Since trade unions act as third parties in the association between employers and employees, it is necessary to cultivate harmonious relationships between the two parties (Shukia, 2014). Unions are involved in collective bargaining which ensures that the interests of the employer and the employee are safeguarded. To maintain positive relationships with the employees, employers should avoid any disputes and when this occurs, the conflict should be resolved in its early stages to facilitate industrial peace and high productivity within the firm.
Trade unions serve the interests of both employers and employees by balancing the tensions between the rights of the two parties (Mello, 2015). Unions increase wages and benefits for its members, facilitate social identity among members through membership and also represent issues related to labor in the political sphere. The current workplace is characterized by workplace pressures and less bargaining power on the side of the employees. As such, workers do not usually receive compensation that is equal to their work which reduces the need to join trade unions. Trade unions exist in this environment as the “objective outsiders” who stands up for the rights of the workers in the unbalanced workplace that favors the employers at the expense of the employees (Shukia, 2014).
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Through the collective bargaining approach, the unions and employers create a collective bargaining agreement which indicates how the workers will be treated in the organization and the rights the leaders have in managing the firm (Mello, 2015). The collective bargaining agreement significantly diminishes the right of the management to run the organization without question from outside forces. This brings in a conflict between the unions and the employers who would like to limit the collective bargaining agreement which leads to unhealthy relationships between the employers and employees where the workers suffer through inhuman working conditions, lack of fair compensation and unfair dismissal.
- Mello, J., (2015). Strategic human resource management. (4th ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Publishing.
- Shukia, A. (2014). Collective Relation Between Union and Employer: Industrial Relations. Abhinav International Monthly Refereed Journal of Research in Management and Technology. 3(12): 24- 31.