The history of trade unions can be traced back to nearly 400 years ago when such groups as the Craftsmen and the Levelers were organized to protect their own products and interests. At the end of the 18th century, the labor surplus caused by industrial revolution made the working classes increasingly dependent on their employers. It is during this period of time that the commonly regarded early trade unions (1770 1850) appeared, aiming to help workers with their financial concerns by providing insurance and benefits such as sick and unemployment pay. However, they failed to survive the economic depressions in the first half of the 19th century. Then their place was taken by the so-called New Model Unions, which were professionally organized to achieve 'respectability' and permanence' via centralized and decentralized bargaining within industries and firms (Webb and Webb, 1920). This was the direct precursor of today's mainstream unions.
[...] Operation and Influences Trade unions operate in the capitalism countries through various approaches to achieve their objectives. The most common method is negotiation of collective agreements with employers, which specify wages, hours, working conditions, and benefits in great detail. Furthermore, they exercise their power via other selective or collective industrial actions, such as striking, boycotting certain work, banning overtime or working to unilateral rules. In addition, trade unions are linked to political parties such that they usually have a voice in the enactment of labor laws. [...]
[...] (2nd ed). London: Institute of Personnel and Development. Godfrey, G. and Marchington, M. (1996). Shop Stewards in the 1990s: A Research Note. Industrial Relations Journal (4):339-44. Legge K. (1995). HRM: towards the flexible firm? In John Storey (Eds.). Human resource management : a critical text. London: International Thomson Business [...]
[...] From this point of view, trade unions seem to be illogical and exist as a threat to the harmony of the relationship between employers and employees. On the contrary, the radical perspective argues that the irreconcilable interests always exist between employers and employees. Thus, trade unions are dysfunctional in regulating employment relations. In the viewpoint of the pluralists, there are different interest groups within the work organization, but the conflicts between them can be settled by appropriate means to ultimately achieve common goals. [...]
[...] Moreover, the government policy between 1979 and 1997 not only was unsupportive of trade union activities, but also had directly weakened the collective bargaining power of trade unions. Meanwhile, yet, Thatcherite ‘enterprise culture' facilitated the introduction of new management concepts, such as HRM, TQM and JIT (Ackers et al, 1996: 5). These new management concepts have greatly challenged the functions of trade unions. In parallel with these concepts, the term ‘employee relation' took the place of ‘industrial relation', placing emphasis on ‘individualism' rather than ‘collectivism'. [...]
[...] and Wilkinson, D. (2002). Collective Bargaining and Workplace Performance: An Investigation using the Workplace Employee Relations Survey 1998. available: www.dti.gov.uk/er/emar/collective.pdf Burchill, F. (1997). Labour Relations. Macmillan Business. Edwards, P. (1995). Industrial Relations. Oxford: Blackwell. Flanders, A. (1975). Management and Unions: The Theory and Reform of Industrial Relations. London: Faber and Faber. Gennard, J. and Judge, G. (1999). Employee Relations. [...]
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