College: UK College of business and computing
Unit code : F/601/1271
Part 1 – UK specific
It is accepted that there are varying perspectives (unitarist, pluralist, radical/maxist) when it comes to interpreting employee-employer relationship and conflict in organisations. Fox (1966) used the term ‘frame of reference’ to explain the nature of these perspectives. Leat (2003) noted that the three perspectives are somewhat idealised and hybrid viewpoints are common and it is important to realise your own views and values and therefore your own perspective on the employment relationship.
Your task is to research the UK’s history of employment relations and produce a short report covering;
a) The different frames of reference explaining the implications of each of the perspectives as a means for handling employment relations. (1.1)
b) Assess how changes in trade unionism have affected employee relations in the UK. (1.2)
c) Explain the roles of the following key players in employment relations. (1.3)
III. Trade Unions
IV. Employer associations
UK’s history of employment relations
Workers play one of the major roles in the industry in the process of production. Workers or employees are often considered as the essential human capital that facilitates the process of production. It is important to resolve the disputes among the employee and the employer in order to complete the production process. As per the UK’s history the government often needs to intervene in the employee and employer relationship to resolve the dispute between the management and the labour and the process is done through implementing several laws and policies and necessary legislations (Ackers, 2002). Along with implementing the policies it is also important to negotiate including all the stakeholders involved in the process.
The different frames of reference explaining the implications of each of the perspectives as a means for handling employment relations
There are several frameworks that have different approaches and different perspectives of resolving the conflict. Unitary and plurastic frames are considered to be significant ones in resolving such disputes.
Unitary frame: as far as Unitary framework is considered the organization in such framework is treated as an harmonious process of integration. In this frame the management of a company and the workers share a common interest and that is organizational benefit (Ackers, 2002). This frame considers the organization as a single integrated and coherent team and the members of the team share collaboration and effective communication with each other.
In unitary framework the conflict is often considered to be disruptive and it hazards the process of production. Such conflicts are often seen as results of poor communication and conflicts of different personalities and perspectives. In this particular framework trade unions are considered to be hazardous. Trade unions according to this particular frame serves the purpose of disrupting the natural process of production (Ackers, 2002). This frame of reference encourages the formation of the labour union only for improving communication among the workers of the organization and in order to establish proper communication and collaboration among the workers of an organization.
The labour union is supported for another reason and that is to support the labours to participate in the decision making process of the organization and this framework is also concerned with the professional development of the employees.
Plurastic frame: Pluralistic frame of reference is an alternative framework of the unitary frame. The approach of this frame is different from the previous one as in this frame the organization is not seen as a coherent collaboration of different groups. According to this frame of reference the complete organization is seen to be created from different sub groups that have different pwers and are competitive. These different groups of management is not led by any single leader but the groups have different leaders and the trade unions under this framework has also different goals and objectives (Felstead and Jewson,1999). Different groups including the trade union has individual leaders, goals and objective and which is different from the organizational goals and objectives. In this approach any dispute is considered as a disagreement among the different groups and the management. The issue of such disagreement is based on the share of organizational profit and benefit.
This frame of reference believes in collective bargaining for resolving the disputes and the disputes are treated as the agents and elements of evolution.
This frame of reference indicates towards the less commanding nature of the managers and also it perceives conflicts not as hazards. According to this frame of reference trade unions have a potent role to play in helping the mangers in resolving the disputes.
How changes in trade unionism have affected employee relations in the UK.
Trade unions are considered as the associations that are established in order to protect the workers against any kind of possible exploitation and for the improvement of the working condition of the workers as well.
In UK Trade union was initially established at the time of Industrial Revolution. The trade union was formed in order to change the contemporary condition of the workers as the working condition rendered the workers in helpless situation and because of their inability to bargain the improvement and increase their wages in order to improve their situation. The resentment against the employers grew gradually because of the exploitation of the labourers and the number of trade unions slowly increased (Ackers, P., 2002).
With the increase in the number of the trade unions the working condition of the workers began to change and the protection of the rights of the workers also took place. With the advent of trade unions there was establishment of the necessary employee and employer acts, the labour laws and the health and safety act for the workers.
Trade unions which is often considers as disturbing elements in the process of production, in reality helps in maintain a good industrial relationship between the employer and the employees. The workers can convey their requirements and demands through the trade unions and industrial disputes among the managers and the employees can also be resolved.
the roles of the following key players in employment relations.
Employer plays an important role in the employment relation. The employer is the one who takes the decision of employing the eligible employees from the aspirant candidates. Selection of the right candidates facilitates the production process and employers also have certain liabilities towards the employees (Ackers, 2014). For example the employer is responsible for providing occupational safety to the workers.
Employee is considered as the primary element of the production process. They are the most important variable in employment relations as the complete process of production circles around the employees. It is important for the employees to be productive for organizational profit and benefit.
The trade unions play an important role in protecting the interests of the workers (Holgate, 2015). Trade unions are the instrument that helps in achieving equal rights to the workers.
The employer association plays a similar role to the trade unions. The associations are formed in order to convey the demands of the employees to the employers and to ensure the protection of the labour rights.
The government generally intervenes in the relationship of the employee and the employer in order to reach an economic or social goal (Kochan et al, 1984). The high rate of employment and the payment of the employees are the areas that concern the government.