Forms of Trade Union Recognition

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Trade Union Recognition 

The unions get their recognition in different manner. The recognition can be partial in nature or full. In partial recognition, the number of issues that can be taken up is limited whereas in full recognition, all the different issues concerned with the employees, including payment can be discussed.

The union representatives can always do the minimum of assisting the employees for cases of grievances. The kind of bargaining that takes place actually depends upon the kind of management at the helm. If some other agreements are present, that can take things out of the hands of the local management when it comes to recognition.  In the collective agreements, certain matters can be taken up and subjected to negotiation with union bodies which are recognized.

The next decision that needs to be taken is the number of unions that can get recognition under a particular company. The methods of bargaining that would be taken up are also discussed here:

  1. First is the case of bargaining involving multiple unions. Many unions are recognized, which will enter into negotiations taking side of the different workers. Often this results in situations where different groups are placed with different terms and conditions in their hands. This kind of approach has mostly been seen in various public sectors. The merger of different unions has brought about a reduction in number of recognized groups. Various unions often represent various bargaining groups.  These groups for example can include white collar workers as well as manual laborers.
  2.  In cases of bargaining over one table, many different unions get the recognition, however only a single set of bargaining can take place at a time. All the issues for the various staffs, is hence decided upon in one table. In these arrangements, it is generally observed that the different workers enjoy all the basic amenities such as taking a holiday, sick leave and even pensions.
  3. The bargaining of a single union takes place in situations where one union is looking for some recognition. This can also take place when a particular employer, reject the option of multi union bargaining and asks to deal with one union only.  These arrangements are also called sweetheart as well as new style of agreement. Some controversies have embroiled this practice too. You will find these things in under developed sectors where technological sophistication has not been achieved. The required novelty is actually the proximity and the extent till which a relationship of work exists between the management and the trade union. The officials of the union often see that they possess, lesser degree of freedom to take up some action in matters than the different members would expect them to. The officials will find that they are completely involved in question regarding the HRM and not only on the issue of collective bargaining. The various arrangements also usually have clauses for no strikes and thus eliminating the requirement for industrial action. This is because independent settlement is provided in cases where the union and management fail to reach an agreement. The deals take place with one union only.

From the viewpoint of a management, it is always preferable to end agreements with those unions which have received recognitions. These approaches have always been much encouraged by governments in the recent times. This can grow to be really dominant, in future situations when the councils for European Works, becomes a necessity in the bigger organizations.

By the deals of partnership, a move is made away from existing traditional as well as enemy like unions which cannot be trusted upon. The new partnership is one which would be full of trust and could engage in solving of problems together.

Maintaining communications as well as consultations can be deemed to be the slogans by which the employees and the management would be told about the factors that affect the decisions taken up by the management and so that these people are involved on their own in the process of decision making. The collective bargaining continues till this day but other institutions such as company council has also come to the fore.

This is a body of representatives which consists of both employers as well as people from the union and has many functions. These functions include acting as a body for negotiations as well as a conservative body. Different sub committees are established which goes on to solve different disputes. The principles agreed between the employees and employers, are promoted by this body.

By the collective agreements of the present times, particular undertakings are included and which equates to involving a lot of flexibility as well as new forms of technology. By the presence of the flexibility agreements, the divisions between the various worker groups are lessened. As a result of this, a larger number of people will be able to take up tasks which are different from the usual job roles.

These things get introduced owing to a lot of tough competition based pressure and get completed in a manner where loss of jobs is really minimized. In exchange of getting higher amount of money and proper training, the workforce will be becoming really skilled and give up the strict demarcation of grades which prevent people from doing multiple tasks. The agreements related to technology, are often concluded so that the introduction of the new machineries and the practices associated with it, can take place smoothly.

There are the issues, which the managers would otherwise not give much importance to if they do not prop up in discussions. In the meetings all uncertainties as well as loss of jobs are kept at a minimum level.

The collective bargaining will be differing according to their levels. Three main approaches of bargaining usually taken up include:

  • Bargaining among multiple employers,
  • bargaining with employer as well as
  • Bargaining taking place at the place of work.

All of these bargaining can be taking place within the same organization. The discussions of various matters actually take place at various levels. Most of those organizations having recognized trade unions, the important decisions take place in a single forum. The bargaining through various employers was very much prevalent in England and continues to happen in various European countries.

Different negotiations that take place concerned with the basic payment can happen at the industry level or even at the national level because of the patronage coming from the associations of employers. As a result of this, you will see different norms of the industry being present including similar pay rates as well as agreements being done regarding the number of hours for which the employers would work in one industry.

Through the 80s and 90s, a very steep decline in the practice of multiple employers bargaining was seen taking pace in England. There had been a collapse in the agreements being used in industries of engineering as well as textiles.

According to sources, in the present times only6% of the companies in the UK, among which 3 % are in private sectors, get payment through a program of multi employment agreement. In the public sector, the figures observed are on a much higher side, standing at 39%. A lot of decentralization has taken place even in such sectors in the present times.

You will hence observe that most of the bargaining, are seen to take place with the employer or in case of operations in multiple sites in the workplace level itself. The earlier mentioned bargaining would be considered to be a better option. This is because the main terms and conditions are made standard in the company. This kind of approach can also be termed as extremely efficient as it takes up very less time for management. This is in contrast to the case where each of the workplace would do its own negotiation.

Forms of Trade Union Recognition 2What according to you are the primary reasons behind the breaking of so many collective agreements based on industry level approach? Why have these approaches survived in countries such as Denmark or Italy?


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