Labour Relations
Quick revise

Trade Unions

The Role of Trade Unions
  • 1. Craft unions represent skilled workers from one occupation
  • 2. General unions representing mainly unskilled workers from many occupations e.g. TGWU (Transport and General Workers' Union).
  • 3. Industrial unions representing mainly workers in one industry. E.g. NUM (miners' union)
  • 4. Professional or white-collar unions representing skilled workers in mainly service industries.E.g. NUT (teachers' union).
The Aim of Trade Unions
  • Improve the pay of workers.
  • Improve working conditions and secure longer holidays.
  • Protect members' jobs.
  • Provide local, social and welfare facilities.
  • Influence government policy
The Trades Union Congress (UK)
  • Made up of over 90 unions representing more than 9 million members
  • An annual conference decides overall union policy and elects the General Council
  • The General Secretary of the TUC is the trades union spokesman in any negotiations with the government or employers' organisations.
Disputes & Restrictive Practices

Disputes can arise over pay, working conditions, redundancies etc. Restrictive Practices may then follow such as:

  • A closed shop - union insists all workers are T.U members
  • Demarcation when a union insists that only their members do certain jobs
Industrial Action

If negotiations break down Unions can:

  • Work to rule :do the bare minimum
  • Impose an overtime ban
  • Strike and refuse to work altogether
  • Picketing: ask other members not to enter
  • ‘Blacking’: Refusing to deal with certain employees or suppliers because they have refused to participate in Industrial Action
  • Employers can operate a lockout and refuse workers entry or they can dismiss striking workers for breach of contract
  • Arbitration is when employers agree to an independent referee to try to find common ground
  • Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) has been available to help solve disputes
  • In the 1980s and 1990s there have been an increasing number of single-union agreements where employers negotiate with only one union
Average: 4 (1 vote)