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What Are Trade Unions For?

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WHAT ARE TRADE UNIONS FOR? A trade union is an organisation whose purpose is to protect and improve the position of its members at work. A trade union must be independent of the employer. Most trade unions are affiliated to the Trade Unions Congress (TUC), and in N. Ireland to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. These are umbrella organisations which co-ordinate various inter-union activities, for example, trade union education and campaigning on proposed legislation. People want their trade unions to negotiating agreements with the employer on terms and conditions, for example, on pay, holidays, occupational pensions and general working conditions. Without the powerful voice of a trade union many employees would be easily taken advantage of in their workplace. People would also want monitoring of the employer's legal responsibility for health and safety at work. In an absence of this procedure an employer may cut down on costs by using dangerous machinery / equipment. This would put a large risk of injury on the employee, which may not be fully covered by their insurance. ...read more.


This shows that the company is looking to employ people who willing to fit into the ways of the business and wont cause conflict or trouble amongst other staff. Enforcing this employee status would maintain a good relationship between staff and fewer people would complain about the way they are being treated to the trade union. Employees and unions are both interested in the long-term plans of companies for a number of reasons. Businesses are always looking for innovative more efficient ways to make money. To do this many companies invest into machinery, which replace the work of people. Alternatively they may even plan to reduce their work force in an attempt to cut costs. These ideas may be incorporated into the long-term plans of a company so it is vitally important to an employee to view how safe their job is. If an employee has an ample amount of notice to a redundancy they may be able to get a new job in the mean time. ...read more.


If 1000 cleaners went on strike it wouldn't even be close to the affect that 1000 ambulance drivers would have. The recent fire-fighter strikes have had a very big affect on the government as they had to negotiate with the workers or many people would die. Some industries such as the coal or electricity are very powerful because they have a knock on affect to many other businesses and therefore would have a big say. In conclusion I believe trade unions are a very important thing in the everyday life of people. Without them who knows how employees would be treated. Staff could become demotivated and sales would fall, as a result the employees would be put under even worse bad conditions and it would be a never-ending cycle. On the other hand there have been reported complaints regarding trade unions. Not keeping proper membership records, failure to conduct elections of officials in the proper manner and misusing union funds are amongst them. This suggests not all trade unions are perfect but it would be near impossible to function without them. ...read more.

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