LinkedIn emplea cookies para mejorar la funcionalidad y el rendimiento de nuestro sitio web, así como para ofrecer publicidad relevante. Si continúas navegando por ese sitio web, aceptas el uso de cookies. Consulta nuestras Condiciones de uso y nuestra Política de privacidad para más información.
LinkedIn emplea cookies para mejorar la funcionalidad y el rendimiento de nuestro sitio web, así como para ofrecer publicidad relevante. Si continúas navegando por ese sitio web, aceptas el uso de cookies. Consulta nuestra Política de privacidad y nuestras Condiciones de uso para más información.
introduction to trade unions
trade unions characteristics
objectives of trade unions
how trade unions are financed
how trade unions recruits its members
why employees join trade unions
functions of trade unions
trade union structure
Weakness/challenges/problems facing trade unions
Measures to strengthen trade unions
Advantages of trade unions to workers, employeer and society
criticism of trade unions by employer
-Intro to trade unions
-Features of trade unions
-What do trade unions do?
-Objectives of trade unions
-How trade unions are financed
-How trade unions recruits its members
-Why employees join trade unions
-Functions of trade unions
-Trade union structure
-Weakness/challenges/problems facing trade unions
-Measures to strengthen trade unions
-Advantages of trade unions to workers, employees and society
-Criticism of trade union by employers
A Trade union is an association of workers formed to protect the interest of workers.
-it is an instrument of defense against exploitation( i.e. help in protection of labor rights)
The most common purpose of trade union association is maintaining or improving the
conditions of employment at work place such as ensuring safety standards, right to paid
leave, right to be protected on unfair termination of employment , right to equality on
The trade union through its leadership bargains with the employer on behalf of union
members and negotiates labour contracts.
Trade union association can exist in three forms
i. Employer and employees
ii. Employer and employer
iii. Employees and employees
1.Trade unions are voluntary association of either employees or
employer or independent worker.
2.Trade union achieve its objectives through collective action and
group efforts. Negotiation and collective bargaining are the tools for
3.It is formed to protect all kinds of interest, i.e. economic, social and
political of its members but the major one is economic interest.
4.Trade union are adaptable to the changing socio economic, legal,
5.Trade union are designed to eliminate the exploitation of workers
through workers participation in the management
The main service that a union provides for its members is negotiation and
representing but there are also other functions. All of these functions can be
1.NEGOTIATIONS( COLLECTIVE BARGAINING)
Negotiation is where union representatives discuss with the management on
issues that affect people working in the organization.
The union finds out the members view and relay these views to the
There may be difference of opinion between management and union
members, negotiation is about finding a solution to these differences.
Trade unions represents individuals members when they have a problem at
work. Example if employees feel they are being unfairly treated, the union
representative can sort out the problem with the management, if the problem
can not be solved by the employer himself then it will be solved on the court
3.INFORMATION AND ADVICE
Trade unions have wealth of information which is useful to people at work.
They can advise on range of issues such as how much pay one is entitled to get
on maternity leave, how much holiday one is entitled to get each year, how to
obtain training at work
Trade unions offers range of services to its members. It includes the following
i. Education and training.
Most unions run training courses for their members . The training relates
mostly on employment rights, health and safety.
ii. Legal assistance
Trade union offers legal assistance on employment issues, some unions even
give help on personal matters like housing, wills and debts
iii. Financial discounts
People can get discounts on mortgages, insurance and loans form unions
iv. Welfare benefits
Trade unions also look after members who hit hard times, example; some
unions offer financial help to their members when they are sick
There are two main ways in which trade unions are financed
Each trade union member pays a subscription fee, the amount differs among
unions and it is normally set at different levels according to the amount people
earn. This is a major source of trade union’s finance
In exchange for subscription fees, members receive benefits of representation,
negotiation , protection and other service from their union. The subscription
fee may be direct deducted from employees salary and must be paid
2.DONATIONS, GRANTS OFFERED TO THE TRADE UNIONS
This is a secondary source of finance, its is not obtained periodically and it is
not an obligation for individuals who provide donations, Companies or
wealthy individuals who have trust on the trade union activities may provide
donations to support trade union activities. Obtaining donations highly
depends on trade union reputation and the nature of its activities.
Individuals are recruited in unions through the following ways
1.Most people find out about trade unions by talking to colleagues at the
workplace and then make direct contact with the union.
2.Some people are contacted by union representative who give them
information about the union and tells them how to join
3.Some employers and personal officers tell employees about the union when
they start working for the organization.
1.GREATER BARGAINING POWER
Employees normally posses very little bargaining power as compared to that of
employer, With trade unions, employees are united, the employees bargaining
power can be enhanced through negotiation of their needs by their leader.
Discrimination exist in working environment. Some subordinates may be
treated fairly while others unfair due to the relationship. The relationships
existing between the supervisors and each of his subordinates may influence
decisions regarding pay, promotion, transfer. With trade unions these things
can be reduced or eliminated.
3.SENSE OF SECURITY
Some employees join trade unions believing that it is an effective way to
secure adequate protection from various types of hazards and overcome
insecurity such as accident, injury, illness, unemployment
Example: protection of unfair termination of employment, proper remedy to
be given incase of injury ( lets say an employee cuts his hand during machine
operation at work place,)
4.SENSE OF PARTICIPATION
The employees can participate in management on matters affecting their
interests only if they join trade unions. They can influence decisions that are
taken as a result of collective bargaining between the union and the
5.SENSE OF BELONGINGNESS
Those who are members feel that they gain respect in the eyes of their fellow
workers. They can also discuss their problems with trade union leaders
6.PLATFORM FOR SELF EXPRESSION
A trade union provides such a forum where the feelings, ideas and opinions of
the workers could be discussed
7.BETTERMENT OF RELATIONSHIP
Employees join trade unions as they believe trade unions can fulfill the
important need of ensuring proper maintenance of employer-employee
Unions help to ensure good industrial relations among management and
workers by solving problems peacefully.
Trade unions performs a number of functions in order to achieve the
objectives. These functions can be broadly classified into four categories
i. Militant(revolutionary) functions
ii. Fraternal functions
iii. Social functions
iv. Political functions
1.To achieve higher wages and better working conditions
2.To protect labour against injustice and victimization
3.To raise the status of workers as part of industry
1.To provide opportunity for promotion and growth
2.To encourage sincerity and discipline among workers.
3.To generate self confidence among workers
4.To take up welfare measures for improving the morale of workers
1.To promote schemes and procedure for addressing grievances among
2.Provision of education among members
3.Publication of union documents such as newsletters or magazines for
establishing communication with their members
Trade unions are democratic organizations which are accountable to their
members for their policies and actions.
Unions are normally modeled on the following structure.
People who pay a subscription to belong on a certain union
2.SHOP STEWARDS( UNION REPRESENTATIVES)
Union representatives are elected by members of the union to represent them
to the management.
Branches support union members in different organizations locally. There is
usually a branch secretary who is elected by local members.
These are usually staffed by fulltime union officials. Union officials are people
who are paid to offer advice and support to union members locally.
5.A NATION OFFICE.
These are unions headquarters which offers support to union members and negotiates
or campaigns for improvement to their working conditions. At the top of organization
there is usually general secretary who is elected by union members
1.Better wages by Improving employees pay and other benefits such as holiday
2.Better working conditions. Example ,Securing improvements in employees
working conditions including hours of work. and health safety at work,
improving pensions and industry injury benefits.
3.Social welfare, providing improved standard of living
4.Safeguard the interest of employees by Encouraging firm to increase worker
participation in decision making
5.To prevent employees from employer’s exploitation. This can done by
defending employees rights and jobs. Employees rights are normally expressed
in labour relation act that differs from one country to another.
6.Organizational growth and stability. With trade union on place strikes can
be avoided thus resulting stability and growth of the firm.
There is uneven growth in trade unionism. Trade union activities are only
concentrated in few states and bigger industrial centers only.
Not all people join trade unions. Many trade unions exist in different countries
but there is declining membership per union. This because individuals feels
that the unions do not meet their member’s needs, hence results to number of
employees who are not member of any union
Financial position of trade union is weak since the average yearly income is
low and inadequate. Things such as subscription rates are very low and
sometimes they remain unpaid by their members.
Funds of the union are inadequate and they cannot take welfare programs for
their members effectively.
4.MULTIPLICITY OF UNIONS(PRESENCE OF MULTIPLE UNIONS IN
There is an existence of multiple trade unions in the same field. There is no
restriction on the numbers of unions to be registered in one establishment.
The law permit a small number of people to form trade unions. Eg according
to trade unions act 2004 of Tanzania, 2o employees can form a trade union.
Due to this it results to the formation multiple unions in large amount
5.INDIFFERENT ALTITUDE OF WORKERS
In many countries, large number of workers have not joined trade unions and
normally employers discourage trade unions.
Also not all members on the union show interest in the affairs of the union.
For example some people may have poor attendance of union’s general
meetings, under such circumstance trade unionism cannot be expected to
make progress due to lack of unity.
6.POOR LEADERSHIP OF UNION LEADERS
Sometimes trade unions are led by people who are not workers but outsiders.
Outsiders may include politicians, intellectuals who have no experience of
work industry. Normally outsiders focus on their personal interests rather
7.ILLETERACY OF SOME WORKERS
Some works fail to understand the impact of trade unionism
due to their lack of education
These are suggestion/measure to be taken for healthily growth of unionism
1.ONE UNION IN ONE INDUSTRY(MAINTAINING UNITY)
Having multiple union in the same industry lead to inter union rivalry that
ultimately cuts trade union movements, it weakens the power for collective
bargaining. There fore there should be one union only in one industry.
The presence of one union only will help to have one policy, one program, one
objective, one method of labour movements.
2.DEVELOPMENT OF LEADERSHIP FROM WITHIN
Leaders of the union must be within the industry of workers and not outside.
Outside leadership is one of the main cause for multiple problems of trade
unions and that can only be eliminated if leaders come from within.
3.PAID UNION OFFICIALS
Individuals who specifically work for the union should be employed and must
be paid well. These union officials must be individuals of proven integrity and
who are able to evaluate the demands of workers so that they may negotiate
with employers on equal terms.
4.IMPROVED FINANCIAL CONDITIONS
Financial position of union is weak and must be improved through ensuring
payments of member subscription and finding donations for the union.
5.RECOGNITION OF TRADE UNIONS
Trade union must be recognized and be registered under the trade unions act
in order to secure the union and ensuring its safely. If a union is registered it
enjoys the rights of the registered trade unions as per the trade unions act.
If it not registered then it is not subjected to the rights of a registered trade
6.IMPROVING WORKERS EDUCATION
It is the responsibility of trade unions to make workers realize their
responsibilities and ensure discipline in them to perform their job satisfactory
7.IMPROVING WELFARE ACTIVITIES FOR WORKERS IN UNION
Welfare activities efforts make the workers loyal to the union. Example
provision of day school for children, night for adults, opening libraries,gyms.
1.It promote unity
2.It ensures improvement in working conditions and provision for better
3.Spirit of self reliance and self respect
5.Change in employer’s altitude
1.Dispute can be avoided or may be solved politely
2.It results to industrial peace
3.Framing healthly labour policies. It reduces chance of
industrial dispute in future
1.Gain sympathy of general public(in crisis)
2.Propose to the government( to enact labour policies to protect
and develop labour force of the country in a better way
3.It helps in development of industrial economy by maintaining
good industrial relations, thus it will results in higher and better
production at lower cost
1.LACK OF EDUCATION
Lack of education makes workers narrow minded and prevent them to
understand long-term views.
For workers anything that does not results in an immediate rewards becomes
unattractive to them even if it is important for their own benefits also.
2.UNIONS MAY NOT WELCOME CHANGES
Unions may not welcome changes for productivity methods for the fear that
some of the workers will loose their jobs. Therefore they slowdown industrial
3.STRIKES ON ILLOGICAL BASIS
Sometimes unions strikes on illogical bases/grounds and causes losses to
producers, community and the nation. Workers also suffers because of their
loss in salaries due to strikes
4.CREATION OF ARTIFICIAL SCARCITY OF LABOURS
Trade union creates artificial scarcity of labour by demanding that only union
personnel should be employed
5.Undue demands relating to wages.