Trade Union

Publish date: January 22, 2017
Objectives of Trade Union:
  1. To maintain industrial peace or harmony.
  2. To safeguard the interest of labour & mgt.
  3. To aroid as far as possible industrial conflict.
  4. To establish industrial democracy.
  5. To ensure the economic security of the workers.
  6. To encourage collective bargaining as a means of self-regulation.
  7. To help maintain discipline amongst workers.
  8. To maintain and develop good employer & employee relation.  
  9. To practice leadership.
  10. To help union & mgt to develop constructive attitudes to each other. 
Functions of trade union:
There arc sonic functions of trade union. The functions of a trade union can be divide in four categories- ­
  • Relating to Members.
  • Relating to Organization.
  • Relating to Union.
  • Relating to Society.
Functions relating to Members:
a) To safeguard workers against all sort of exploitation by the employer, by union leaders or by political parties.
b) To protect workers from the unfair labor practices of the management.
c) To ensure healthy, safe and conducive working conditions.
d) To ensure a desirable standard of life by providing various types of social services.
e) To remove dissatisfaction of workers.
f) To encourage workers for participation in management.
g) To raise the status of the trade union members in the industrial organization and in the society at large.
Functions relating to Organization:
a) To highlight industrial organization as a joint enterprise management an workers.
b) To increase quality and quantitative product
c) To help in the maintenance of discipline.
d) To create favorable opinion of the management towards trade union. And include their status in the industrial organization.
e) To facilitate communication with the management.
Functions relating to trade union:
1.To improve financial position by fixing higher subscription by realizing the union views and organizing special fund raising program.
2. To preserve trade union democracy
3. To train members to assume leadership position
4. To improve the network of communication between trade union and its members.
5. To eradicate the various types of 'isms' within the trade union movement. 6. To prepare and maintain the necessary records.
7. To continuously review the relevance of trade unions objectives in the context of social change.
Functions relating to the society:
1. To render all sorts of constructive cooperation in the formulation of and implementation of plans an policies relating to national development.
2. To enable unorganized sector to organize itself.
3.To create positive opinion or favorable opinion of the mass people towards TU.
4. To create public opinion favorable to government’s policies and plans and to mobilize peoples participation for their effective implementations.
The theories of Trade union:
Trade union is an important instrument of present industrial settings. But why it is originated. The answer of this question leads to the development of theories of trade union. Different writers have presented the following different theories of trade union
1. Social-psychological approach of Robert Hoxie:
According to Hoxie, trade unions grow out of the social psychological environment of workers. Workers who are similarly situated - economically and socially tend to develop a common interpretation of their social situation and a common, situation of their problems of living. This leads them to unite into a union.
2. Sociological approach of Frank Tannanbaum:
According to Frank Tannanbaum, trade union are the by product of an industrial society. Unions are reflection of workers spontaneous urge to re­establish their identity.
3. Protest approach of Pear, Dunlop and others:
Trade union is a form of organized protest against the evils of industrialization. The workers often tied their work distasteful and their expectation never commensurate with their expectations. As a result, workers form n union to express their resentment over the prevailing industrial system.
4. Industrial democracy approach of Webbs:
According to Sydney Webb and Beatrice Webb, TUs are the means of achieving industrial democracy. The workers think that, political democracy alone can not provide them the fruits of freedom of contract, freedom of association, freedom of opportunity etc. all of these freedom depends on industrial democracy. As a result, to achieve industrial democracy is the main mitt of a trade union.
5. Classless society approach of Karl Marx:
In Marx's view, trade union represent a prime instrument for destroying capitalist class. Trade union emerges to struggle against the opposition and bring about a revolutionary transformation of the working class.
Criticism of these theories:
1. All the theorists gave emphasis on one single reason separately but in real sense, trade union emerges for all of these reasons.
2. All the theories ignored that setting disputes was one of the crucial reason for which trade union were originated.
3. These theories do not include all the reasons of developing a trade union of every industrial society.
4. In many countries, like Bangladesh, trade unions arc originated as a part of political extension which, was not identified by the theorists.
Advantages of Trade Union:
Trade union is a formal association of either employees, employers or professional bodies But the term trade union generally refers to the association of employees. The central focus is given to identify the advantages of trade union are summarized below.
1. To get economic security:
One of the important reasons for which employees join trade union is to get economic security on the job. The workers always want a permanent job with an adequate income and a trade union acts as a safeguard to protect economic interest of workers. As a result, workers spontaneously join in trade union.
2. To oppose management:
On the job conditions, condition of employment, job enlargement etc. should be fulfilled based on predetermined policy. But working conditions may be unsafe, management may cut wages or may interfere in workers personal lives. In such cases, workers alone cannot resist the action of management. Therefore, they join a trade union to oppose management collectively.
3. To communicate worker's views to (lie management:
Workers want to communicate with management to express their opinion, views, hope, frustration and ideologies. But individually it is not possible for the workers as well as for management. As a result they join a trade union to consult jointly.
4. To get protection from economic hazards:
The workers also join a trade union due to fact that, they need help in time of sickness, old age, death; protection from suffering, suspension etc. In all such circumstances, trade union provides assistance to its members.
5. To get employment:
            Sometimes the workers join a trade union because it is a precondition to get their employment.
6. To exercise leadership role:
Some workers join unions as an outlet for their ambition. They may asp leadership and find that the union offers a convenient vehicle.
7. To regain social life:
            Since trade union helps the workers in regaining their social life, they willingly join trade union. It also helps the workers to raise their status in society.
8. To solve their problems:
            It is another burning question for which workers join in trade unions. Since the workers face the economic problems (such as - getting insurance benefits) in their environment, they try to solve their problems jointly. This leads them to unite a union.
9. To fulfill basic needs:
            According to Maklcyland, Human being has three basic needs: Need for affiliation, Need for power, Need for feedback. A worker tries to satisfy all of these needs through joining a trade union.

Disadvantages of Trade Union:
Describe the main weakness of trade unions in Bangladesh and suggest measures of overcoming these weaknesses.
Trade unions have not been successful over the year in achieving its goals. So the logical question comes up is: why do trade unions fail? The answer is: it fails because of its weaknesses and limitations of various natures. These weaknesses arc described below.
a. Too much political influence:
Trade union leaders of Bangladesh arc fully controlled by political parties. So they arc more interested in promoting the political goals than in advancing the workers interest.
b. Multiplicity of trade unions:
Multiplicity of trade unions arc serious threats to the healthy trade union movement. When any conflict occurs within the unions, it is not resolved amicably rather gives birth to new unions under new relationship. But all these unions never come to the active role united to do any welfare of workers.
c. Inter-union rivalry:
Multiplicity of trade unions leads to infra and inter union rivalry and thus worth their collectively bargaining of workers. So the unions never be able to get their expected demands from the management.
d. Weak financial position:
Most of the trade unions in our country are financially weak. 13mun union members do not pay their subscription regularly, as a result trade unions cannot provide any welfare work or other financial help the their members when they are on strike or in trouble.
e. Poor membership:
Mushroom growth of trade union is responsible for poor membership. And inadequate membership always weakens the financial position and bargaining power of unions. So the unions become ineffective to do their duty.
f. Lack of sincerity:
Most of the union leaders arc insincere about their duty and involved in corruption. Some of them are accused of taking bribes from managers, contractors, suppliers, loan receivers, job seekers and workers. Due to their dishonesty actually they do not have the courage to fight against any of exploitation or evils of the management.
g. Poor academic and social background:
The social, economic, and educational background of union leaders and workers is poor. Very few of them arc trained. They are not well aware of labor and industrial laws. As a result, they cannot negotiate efficiently with the management rather they have a fear of victimization.
Remedial Measures:
In the light of successful trade unions (Japanies and Western trade union) some suggestions may be put forward to make out trade unions strong and effective organization.
a. Bilateral collective bargain system must to introduce in each and every organization of Bangladesh and the union leads must be elected on the basis of their personal qualifications and capabilities.
b. The mushroom growth and multiplicity of trade unions, which are detrimental to the industrial peace, must be discouraged.   
c. The monthly per member subscription must be raised and collected regularly to make trade unions financially strong.
d. Union leaders and workers must be trained on the labor laws and fair negotiating procedures.
e. The function of trade union should be broadened and widened so as necessary.
f. Built management and union leaders should he sincere, honest and fair in dealings.

I think, if the trade unions of Bangladesh follow the suggestions, they will be successful in their activities.  
            Finally, trade union is an instrument of workers against the evils of industrialization. The workers think that they can establish their rights collectively rather than individually. It is an association of employees employers or individual workers. It is relatively permanent combination of workers. It ensures the security of the economic interest of the workers. Trade union helps to practice leadership. It wants to develop the relationship between worker and mgt. It ensures collective bargaining. But in our Bangladesh trade union faces difficulties for too much political influence inter union rivalry, week financial position, poor membership and to on. So effective and efficient measures should be taken to make the trade union effective, spontaneous. Bialateral collective bargain system must be introduced. Industrial peace must be encouraged, union leader and worker should be trained and trade union should be broadened.      


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