Multi Unions - Desirable or Not

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Does presence of multiple recognized unions affect Industrial Relations scenario in an organization?

Multi-unionism is a distinctive feature of industrial relations, which involve presence of more than one recognized trade unions. It is a situation in which many competing unions offer to represent the same worker. E.g.: A worker can choose from among a social, liberal or communist union.

It is often criticized for reducing the effectiveness of trade unions and also for reducing the efficiency of business. It is commonly argued that multi-unionism increases strikes, leads to inefficient working practices and complicates the conduct of collective bargaining. Surveys indicate that the typical pattern of multi-unionism is for each union to represent distinct groups of workers, rather than competing to represent the same group of workers, i.e. a worker can be a member of only one union at a time. This restricts union competition for members. Even in the minority of establishments that did experience union competition for members, the nature of this competition meant that multi-unionism did not reduce competitiveness. Nor did multi-unionism prevent most employers from introducing efficient working practices. The main implications of multi-unionism are for the conduct of collective bargaining, but any view that this necessarily reduces a firm's efficiency is far too simplistic.

Each national representative union adopts specific strategies in accordance with their individual ideological convictions. We can draw a distinction between "revolutionary" unions and "reformists" unions. Revolutionary unions are those which follow the Marxist principle of class struggle, and their objective is to end capitalist domination through the collective appropriation of the means of production. Reformists unions pursue a more pragmatic course of action. They try to improve workers' living conditions, without reference to social change. Reformist unions focus on collective...
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