Are Trade Unions a "Thing of the Past"? Discuss the Pros and Cons of Trade Unions from an Employee Perspective.
For a long time the unions aimed to expand the scope of their collective bargaining power. Despite this, in the 1980s and 1990s, management successfully restricted union power and the scope of collective bargaining through bypassing unions and approaching individual workers (Kessler and Bayliss 1998, p.180). Unions fought back by publicising the battles (e.g. in the newspaper industry at Wapping), however unsuccessfully. Furthermore, management’s move from a collective to an individual, more participative approach marked a growth of HRM; it embodied open communication and compensation for accepting changes, which earned employees’ willingness to accept changes (Kessler and Bayliss 1998, p.182). Additionally, the use of PRP schemes in public and private sectors aided the process; it has succeeded to penetrate both sectors, despite mixed trade unions’ reactions (Kessler and Bayliss 1998, p.183). Thus, unions exercised very limited collective bargaining powers, and their efforts resulted in maintaining wages just ahead of the cost of living in public and private sectors; unfortunately, the rather trivial wage increases in the private sector came at a cost of dismissing employees (Kessler and Bayliss 1998, p.183). The above clearly demonstrates unions’ inability to effectively negotiate with employers over wages, which in turn failed to safeguard members’ jobs. It can be argued, that unions