Trade Unions Are No Longer Relevant Today

Topics: Trade union, Collective bargaining, Employment Pages: 2 (635 words) Published: June 8, 2013
Trade unions are no longer relevant in the modern world of work A trade union can be defined as any organisation of workers, whose principle process includes the negotiation of relations between its members and their employers (Farnham, 2000). Since 1980 trade union density has declined in many countries (Waddington, 2005). This can be pin pointed to various external threats such as rising unemployment, employers resisting unionisation to a greater extent than in the past, and a shift in industry to the private sector where unionisation is less dominant. Specifically, the UK has seen a decline in membership since 1979, when Margret Thatcher came into power. Thatcher introduced the new employee involvement initiatives which showed that the past methods were too collectivist and didn’t give all individual employees a say. Union decisions during this process were decided by vote, meaning minority voices would be ignored. This makes newer initiatives such as employee involvement techniques more favourable, and is possibly an effective replacement as it allows for all individuals to have a say, thus in turn denotes trade unions place in the modern world of work. Since then, there has also been the development of social partnership. This movement is widespread in Europe; though some countries do value it more, “the system of social partnership is the salient feature of industrial relations in Austria (Eurofound, 2009). This movement could be considered to be another alternative to collective bargaining just like with employee involvement techniques, as both ultimately weaken trade union power. The only reason unions have entered into this partnership is because it’s their only option they have for survival, as bleak as this option is, “in truth this radically unitarist, individualistic and voluntarist agenda leaves little space for unions’ (Ackers and Payne, 2011). However, employers and unions are no longer viewed as conflicted parties but rather they are in a...
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