Employment Relations

Topics: Trade union, Employment, Collective bargaining Pages: 5 (1373 words) Published: May 1, 2013
How would you characterise employee representation in the UK workplace? To what extent do you agree with the argument that the UK is ‘lightly regulated’ in this regard?


This paper seeks to analyse the characteristics of employee representation in the UK and concerns about is the UK ‘lightly regulated’ in regard of the employee representation. Employee representation can be known as the right of workers to seek a union or an individual to represent them to negotiate with their organizations with a wide range of management issues, such as wage rate, working hours, working conditions, health and safety and also their benefits. It is vital to have a formal system of employee representation in a business. This can give an opportunity for a business to communicate with employees and the law requires a business to consult with the employees in some situations. It helps management and employees to understand more about the workplace issues and other factors that could affect a business. Moreover, this could help to build up trust between employees and managers and therefore workplace relations could be improved. In the UK workplace, there are forms of employee representation which are trade union, non-trade union and indirect representative participation. As for the UK is ‘lightly regulated’ in employee representation is being concerned, there are many workplaces still do not have their employee representations. To a large extent, I agree with this argument. Common structure of employee representation does not exist in the UK and the most common way that legally forces employers to deal with employees is the unions. However, union recognition is decreasing.

Characteristics of worker representation

Employee representation is basically refers to the discussions between employers and employee representatives. This helps to protect employees’ right and to make sure that they are fairly treated. Those representatives could be elected by employees or chosen by managers (Fulton, 2011). There are some advantages and disadvantages of the employee representation should be concerned. The benefits of employee representation are to increase the motivation and empowerment of the labour and better decision making due to the employees’ views are taken into account and lower risk of industrial conflicts. With regard to the drawbacks of workplace representation, time consuming is one of the major disadvantages because it could possibly slower the decision making process. Also, managers might feel their authority is being weakened (Riley, 2012). Move on to the trade union, non-trade union and individual representative participation aspects, there are great differences between union and non-union representatives. Trade union is an organisation which membership includes workers and union leaders, join together to protect their common interests. They are usually presented in larger organizations or workplaces, for example, British Airways and National Health Service. Union representatives are more formal than the non-union representatives. They hold meetings with those representatives and receive more external information than the non-union representatives. In addition, joint consultation allows employees to take part in determining the problems and managers seek opinion from workers for efficient solutions (Salaman, 2000). However, non-union representatives are more likely to contact managers in an informal way. Non-union employees do not belong to a trade union or labour union. Apart from these, union can take advantage on collective bargaining due to the power of the group and they are covered by contract. While non-union workers are less likely to be covered by contract. Employee representatives are often be an unpaid and voluntary role. As for the indirect representative participation, it is where the employees are involved through their representatives, usually chosen from a larger group.

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