Trade Union or Worker’s Union is an organization where a number of workers work together to achieve common goals like seeking better work remuneration, fighting for job security and protection in professional employment and demanding better benefits in health care. The main objective is to come to a negotiation on workplace issues to preserve the rights of workers. In that respect, worker’s union have a positive influence on workers as they work to provide the basic rights that each worker deserves. However recently, the necessity of the worker’s union has come under scanner due to the changes in pattern of work condition and potential of disruption in work process. Secondly, work is dependent on individual creativity and integrity and collective role of the Union is not preferred in current work situation. With this context, the purpose of the essay to critically examine the necessity of worker’s Union in Australia and present arguments related to the negative impact of worker’s union and refute the positive role of Worker’s Union by means of appropriate explanation in relation to current work environment. The thesis statement for the topic is worker’s union role is not necessary in today’s workplace.
In Australia, trade Union’s in collaboration with officials and delegates bargains with the employer Management and engages in collective bargaining to come to work agreements with them. The bargaining is mainly for issues related to work practices, dispute procedures, workplace health and safety, company policy and recruitment protocols. Currently, private business is dependent on technological aspect, where independent ability is high instead of dependent on collective manufacturing work. In such situation, the role of Worker’s Union has become redundant. This has been the reason for decrease in the number of trade union membership in Australia. The article by Li (2012) reports decline in overall union membership from 40% of the workforce to 15% of the workforce. The membership is high only in department of education, training and health care, and significantly declined in manufacturing, construction and trade work. This dramatic fall is also seen due to the high evidence of corruption level in these organizations.
The study by Donado (2015) also argues against the role of unionized workers due to increased chances of non-fatal occupational injuries in the workplace. This point of argument was given by means of comparing non-fatal injury rates in unionized mine workers and non-unionized mine workers. This evidence is in contrast with the idea that labour unions improve occupational health and safety with support from legislation on Occupational Safety and Health Act. However, the diverging role of increased injury among unionized workers has been emphasized in this study because unions increase the number of reported injuries. They tend to organize workplace that is more hazardous compared to organization without union. This can be said by means of evidence regarding union campaigns which have a negative impact on workflow. It is mainly influenced by political pressure; their side of negotiation does not considers the business requirements and ethics to maintain the integrity of trade. They mostly fight for higher wages and in doing so, compromise the safety conditions of the workplace as employers are compelled to avoid health and safety priority due to wages demand. With such disruptions in trade, it is evident that very few private companies and their workforce are likely to engage in a partnership with Worker’s Union. Hence, their critical role and prevalence in the business organization is slowly dwindling.
The limitation of collective bargaining as done by Worker’s Union is that they are less likely to improve the working conditions of employees. This is because current economic and political environment does not favour collective bargaining and there is no scope for it too. Instead of collective resistance, employers pay attention to individual development of employees such as skills training and creating provisions for personal insurance. Furthermore, maintaining the supply of labour has helped to reduce the dependency rates enhanced flexibility in work. Worker’s Union is not favoured now because of growing economic crisis and power imbalance between employers and workers (Villiers 2011). In such situation, bargaining and action of worker’s union work do not work. The emerging patterns in workplace have changes due to globalisation and corporate financialization. A globalized market has led to intense competition and reduction of labor cost (Lamare 2016). Therefore, employers do not have the option of negotiating with worker’s union and engaging in improving wages and working condition
The redundancy of the worker’s union is also understood from the technological development in workplace. The reliance on world class technology has increased flexibility in work process and this creates favourable work conditions for workers. In short, it can be said that bargaining power for employees has increased with minimum disruption and action of worker’s union (Villiers 2011). Unionized workplaces are mainly engaged in unauthorized and unspontaneous work stoppages. Many employees misuse this power of labor union as they think that engaging in strikes might lead to prompt activation of protection by the official trade unions (Anner and Liu 2016). Therefore, union’s role of protection is often misinterpreted by workers. For this reason, employers curtails off official union to prevent them from organizing strikes and promote harmonious work relations.
Another weak point of worker’s union is that legislators do not have an even view about the union experience and policy voting. The negative interaction with legislators is seen because labor groups can purchase equivalent policy scores (Lamare 2016). Despite this, employee protection legislation is still necessary because employers are now highly engaging in protecting the rights of workers without the assistance from worker’s union. In time of economic stress too, employee legislation empowers employee to remain connected with appropriate employment relationship. It helps to achieve a balance in power relation where mutual needs and demands is respected and evaluated (Villiers 2011). Therefore, worker’s union role in employee protection is no more required and firmer legislation are effective source of employee protection instead of worker’s union collective bargaining.
In contrast to the above argument presented regarding the disadvantage and redundancy of the Worker’s Union in workplace, many support the existence of worker’s union as they preserve the rights of employee. Many cooperative movements have supported workers and provided them access to good working condition and desired quality of employment. However, all the positive influence is realized only when they have adopted cooperative strategies of value promotion and protecting labour’s right and responsibilities (Anner and Liu, 2016). Labor Unions have been found to engage in disruptive strategies whenever they have witnessed any ownership changes or merger related changes. They find it a threat to their wage benefits and job security. Labor unions then advocate for the rights of workers to mitigate the negative impact of takeover on employees. This action is not favoured because evidence from airline mergers have shown that greater union strength is associated with worst outcome in wages and employment (Li 2012). This negative attitude of unions is seen in places where there is a variation in union bargaining environment. This explains that labor unions cannot improve the adverse effects of workplace and their action is not required in current situation of globalization.
From the above arguments presented regarding the disadvantage of worker’s union, it can be said that worker’s union role’s has become redundant in today’s global market. In the event of globalization and dependence on technology, collective role of union is not realised. This is because technology provided the worker with much needed flexibility in the job. Secondly, the changes in work relation give the employees the desired job security. In such situation, there is little function of union in protecting rights of workers because technological development provides employees with greater bargaining power than achieved with the support of the worker’s union.
Anner, M. and Liu, X., 2016. Harmonious Unions and Rebellious Workers: A study of wildcat strikes in Vietnam. ILR Review, 69(1), pp.3-28.
Donado, A., 2015. Why do unionized workers have more nonfatal occupational injuries?. ILR Review, 68(1), pp.153-183.
Lamare, J.R., 2016. Union Experience and Worker Policy: Legislative Behavior in California, 1999–2012. ILR review, 69(1), pp.113-141.
Li, X., 2012. Workers, unions, and takeovers. Journal of Labor Research, 33(4),
Villiers, C., 2011. Why Employee Protection Legislation is Still Necessary. Comp. Lab. L. & Pol'y J., 33, p.481.