Economics assignment on: Declining Union Members in Australian and other Advanced Economies
Trade Unions can be defined as group of employees formed for promoting and protecting the common interests of employees in an organization. It is basically formed for the benefits of employees by improving the working conditions. When the employees and the employers fail to negotiate the trade union come to pacify the things in a proper manner for the welfare of the workers. The advantages of Trade unions are it has to simplify the things at workplace, helps in providing the satisfaction to the employees by increasing the wages, avoids the turnover of the employees, and motivate the employees to implement certain changes (Hearst Communications Inc 2012). It has been observed in the era of globalization the membership of the Unions has declined in Australia and the other advanced economies. The change in demography and increasing number of qualified employees have brought about changes and shifted the manufacturing industries to services industries with the help of technological factors. In olden days the trade unions were involved in resolving problems related to poor wages, health related problems, unhealthy working atmosphere and benefits linked with the employees. Since long the unions have been existing in different countries and it has been stated that their motive is to improve the living standard of the workers. In Australia it was observed that the Unions had an objective to provide a better living standard to the employees working in the manufacturing and other industries. The success was achieved by the Unions in Australia because they were dealing with justice and fairness (Kelly Jonathan 2000). It was explained by them that Human rights of the employees at workplace should not be exploited. The survey has been indicating that before 20 years around 50% of the workers participated in Union activities and today it is about less than 20% of the workers participating in it. The factors that have brought the changes and reduced the union memberships are the changes made in the government policies in Australia and the other economies, changes in the employer policies, and the decreasing rate of labor activities (About.com 2012). The membership also declined because employees started to directly discuss the problems which they were facing at the working place. The unions were involving more towards the political activities and the employee’s wanted to stay away from it without favoring them. Also for the registration process the employees had to pay the charges for enrolling themselves as the union members. It created lots of problems for the employee’s and avoided the union based activities. The employers also reduced the interference of the unions by hiring the required manpower with the help of vendors, contractors and the consultants. The employers have perception that in the name of protecting the interest of the workers the unions have been promoting the illegal activities such as destruction of the employer’s resources and strikes at working place. The manual work of the workers has been replaced by the employer with the help of machines and reduced the enrollment of unions at the workplace (Waddoups, C Jeffery 2005). Today’s generation have been spending and enjoying the work which is being comfortably done by the help of technologies. It has brought about important changes in the legislative process of the Unions in Australia and global economies. The power has been hold by the employer and the government to improve the economy of their particular country.
In this paragraph we will highlight some of the aspects which have weaken the strength of Unions in Australia. The global economy has grown immensely and it has been observed that the service sector is growing more as compared to the manufacturing industries because of diverse skilled workforce and flexible working conditions. The collective agreement has been replaced with the help of Individualized Employment Agreement which is more beneficial for the workers. Today workforce does not want to get affected with negative influence of unions and political conditions (Jeff Grabelsky 2005). The policy of Australian Government is preventing the management of the company from union based activities. The public of different countries have also showed the neutral response in terms of union based activities. The union’s interference is being reduced because the labor market is being systematically managed. The unions have also been facing the problems in selecting its members for the continuity. The service sector has been dominating these types of union based activities. The service sector is technology based where much of the work is being done by the machines and where there is no requirement of Unions. The flexibility in terms of the temporary and the part time employees have reduced the union registration because of the global competition, shifting of the production units to more than one country. Employers observe that unions are demanding in nature and this has been creating a problem for the employers to hire the workers. It has been stated that the union member have been earning more as compared to the non registered member. The jobs have been reduces and the union tax is being collected by the method of reduced investment. The unions have been protesting for the employer’s regarding their increase in pay and lower the investment. The workers become members of the unions but at times their problems are being neglected. The employer’s get motivation directly from the unions to hire the workers from the outside vendors. The organizations which have union where there is no requirement fail to fit the employees in such structure. In America it has been observed that the automobile companies have to pay more wages to the employees who are being registered in unions as compared to Japanese manufacturing companies. The autonomy and the flexibility of the employers are hampered by the trade unions. The benefits are being provided to the workers when the unions actually have power which is not good for the employer (Laura Kearsley 2011). The unions are also being reduced because the companies have been directly approaching to understand the problems of the workers and maximum satisfaction is being provided to the employee’s. The manufacturing industry includes craftsmanship, laboratory and food processing units. Service industry can be healthcare, insurance, education and other sectors. Manufacturing units have been supporting the unions as compared to the service industry. The more stability is there in service sectors during the recessions.
It can be concluded that the countries have been connected globally with the help of trade either by manufacturing or the service sector. It has forced the government to implement changes in terms of the union based activities. Today’s generation prefer to work in multinational service oriented companies where they have a proper policy of hiring and the working systems. The appropriate wages being paid by the employer, the facilities being provided by them and the benefits being provided to retain the employees by the service sector have been increasing the performance of their company and contributing in the growth of the service sector. Employee’s individual performance matters more as compared to be a member of the unions. They think that no third party should come in between the employees and the employers (Michael Peel 2003). It is a time consuming and unwanted activity by the today’s workers to be a member of a particular union. In countries like Australia, US, China, UK and other countries the union membership is has been decreasing since many years. Some of the factors that are globally affecting it are severe competition in term of business, migration of the skilled workforce from one country to the other country, significant changes in the government policies, workplace policies, and rapid changes in the technologies. It has brought about the drastic change in different countries legislation. It can be halted by the Trade unions by being fair and transparent in their union related activities. The confidence among the employer and the employees can be created by being a true mediator. The power being authorized to the trade unions should be exercised for the welfare of the workers. Trade Unions should not invite the workers to be their members just for social loafing and destroying the goodwill of the organization.
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