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Introduction to Human Resource Management


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Chapter 16 : Trade Unions

Definition and Concept of Trade Unions, What Drives Workers to Join Trade Unions?, Characteristics of Trade Unions, Functions of Trade Unions, Types of Trade Unions, Classification of Trade unions According to Purpose, Classification of Trade Unions According to Membership, Methodology Adopted by Trade Unions, Mutual Insurance, Collective Bargaining, Legal Enactments, Other Methods, Issues of Trade Unions, Uneven Growth of Unionism, Small Size of Unions, Financial Weakness, Multiplicity of Unions, Inter-Union Rivalry, Leadership Issue, Politics and Unions, Trade Unions and Globalization

Chapter Summary

Trade unions evolved to protect workers'rights against management's atrocities in the modern industry. They raised a collective voice for the improvement of workers'wages, working conditions, and their social welfare. Basically, workers joined trade unions to protect their economic, social and political interests and to satisfy their need for belongingness.

Trade unions have been classified either on the basis of purpose or on the basis of membership structure. Reformist and revolutionary unions are formed on the basis of purpose. Reformist unions are further classified into business and uplift unions. On the other hand, revolutionary unions are further classified into political, anarchist, and predatory unions.

Predatory unions can be either hold-up or guerilla unions. Craft unions, industrial unions, and general unions are based on membership structure. Over the years, the power of unionism has weakened due to a shift in the nature of workforce among other factors. Trade unions in India have always been plagued by multiple unionism, inter-union rivalry, political interference, financial weakness and uneven growth of unionism.

With the advent of globalization and privatization, these unions fear that their importance and power will decline. The survival of these unions largely depends on their adaptability and improvement in their functioning. Their future success depends on their ability to develop healthy relations with employers and the government by redesigning their objectives, roles and strategies.

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