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Roles And Responsibilities Of Trade Union Management Essay

Trade Union is defined in the Employment Relations Act 2008 (Appendix 1) as "a link of persons, whether registered or not, having as you of its objects the regulation of employment relations between employees and employers"

The Trade Union or Labour Union movement is a continuing and voluntary association whose membership comprises of salary earners, employees and union leaders. Those members have bonded together motivated by a simple motto "Unity makes strength". Workers will therefore utilise trade unions as their representative voice when dealing with employers or on the board of directions.

Independently, the employees do not bear the power to defy the most notable management. Therefore they grouped and seek to institute their terms and conditions of employments. If they realised that negotiating as an individual, the manager would become more powerful, because of the fact an individual would not matter as much a group in regard of running an organisation.

According to Cunnison, "Trade Union is a monopolistic blend of wage earners who stand to the employers in a relation of dependence for the sale of the labour and even for the production, and this the general reason for the association because of this dependence is to strengthen their power to bargain with the employers"

The main role of trade union is to ensure the welfare of its members such as safeguarding the interests of its members, protecting the reliability of its trade, obtaining higher wages by securing financial benefits. It also optimises the working conditions at the workplace and guarantees a job security while protecting members against unfair dismissal at workplace.

Through its leadership, trade union partcipates in collective bargaining, whereby labour contracts are negotiated with the employers. And yes it acts as a recruiting manager, the Union leaders hinder the recruitment and collection of the company, its intention is to maximise the number of employees an employer can hire.

2. 2 Hierarchy of Trade Unions

There is a hierarchy in Unions, we'd identified; the confederation, the federations and the trade unions. In connection with the confederation, there are one main which is Mauritius Labour Congress and it is affiliated to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU). Within the category of federation there are; National Trade Union Confederation (NTUC) which is associated with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the Mauritius Trade Union Congress (MTUC). Finally, the trade unions which can be affiliated to the NTUC; The Federation of Civil Service Unions, Federation of Progressive Unions, Federation des Travailleurs Unis, Confederation Mauriciennes des Travailleurs, General Workers Federation and Federation of Free Workers.

2. 3 Structure of Trade Union

The trade unions structure is divided into several parts, namely:

The Annual Delegates Congress

It is the authority which governs the federation.

The Executive Council

It consists of one representative of every affiliates which is usually the secretary or the president and the Bureau members and two observers per affiliates. Once every 8 weeks they conduct meeting regarding applications for affiliates from trade unions and affiliation of the Federation to any local, regional or international organisation promoting the interest of the personnel and discuss disagreements between different affiliates. Meeting can be scheduled on the demand of the President or the Bureau or of the members of the Executive Council too.

The Bureau

It consists of the President, the General Secretary and the eight elected members. Included in this, one is the 1st Vice president and another is the next vice president, a 3rd as Assistant Treasurer and a fourth person who is the organising secretary.


He represents the Federation and he's the spokesman of the federation.

General secretary

The General Secretary arranges meetings and draw up the minutes of the meeting. Along with the General Secretary, Deputy General Secretary and the Assistant General constitute the Secretariat of Federation.


He is in charge of the accounts of the federation.

Organising Secretary

He is in charge of organising events like workout sessions, seminars, workshop amongst others.

Public Relation Officer

He deals with the media for conferences, coverage, reports and other information that will be published by the media.

2. 4 Nature and Scope of Trade Union

The existence associated with an influential and recognised trade union is a pre-requisite to the industrial development pace of the country. With modernization in various sectors and the formation of new one such as the technological one as well as the tourism sector, human resources were required. However, mistreatment of the Mauritian labour force appears. That's where the trade union emerged; they ensured that the human rights of the members are respect as per the laws and the constitution.

Trade Unions are regarded as a sub-system which attends a precise sub-groups interest. When defending a particular sector they consider themselves as an integral part of the organisation in respect to the feasibility, growth and development of the community of which they formed part of.

The influence of Trade Unions is of key importance for his or her members in the next ways:

First, they may be far better and efficient when the need of negotiation is necessary between employers and employees by attempting to build a win-win situation.

They facilitate the flow of communication between workers and the management, by giving the guidance and support to both of these.

The Union leaders will seek a health and safety in the working environment.

In addition, in addition they act as an educational institution; they offer different kinds of courses to their members.

They also accelerate the pace of financial development for instance; they become a recruiting and selecting agent for the unemployed workers, managing conflicts in the organisation, inculcating corporate social responsibilities to the members among others.

2. 5 Objectives of trade unions.

The main body of the trade union usually involves individual workers, sometimes professionals and past workers. Their primary aim is to ensure that the employment conditions of employees are respected which fair working conditions are offered. However, trade unions also engage in issues like:



Information and advice

Member services


One of the key targets of trade unions is to negotiate with employers about the matters affecting their members and other employees at the job. If a union is formally recognised by an employer, it can negotiate with the employer over terms and conditions. These negotiations are generally known as 'collective bargaining'.

Any trade union works to protect and advance the interests of its members. One of the ways it achieves this is by collectively bargaining with employers about the pay and conditions under which its members work. The negotiation process normally deals with matters such as working regulations, complaint procedures, hiring principle, dismissing or promoting employees, workplace safety and policies etc. Some trade unions have even the energy to negotiate rates of pay, bonuses for target achievement, employment conditions and job descriptions with respect to the employees. For collective bargaining to work, unions and employers need to agree how the arrangement is to operate. The objective of that collective bargaining or negotiation process is to settle with a mutual agreement also called 'collective agreement' between the management and the trade union.

Representing Body

Employees and other workers have the to be accompanied at a disciplinary or grievance hearing. They can either choose a co-worker or a union representative. Often, the union representative, is a workplace representative who's also a co-worker and will support the employee on the board meeting.

Information and Advice

If someone forms part of your union he/she can also inquire further for advice. Unions are experts at solving problems at work. Trade unions provide staff with information, advice and guidance about any work related problems.

Member Service

Trade unions provide its members with a variety of services such as training, insurance, financial assistance and legal advices, sickness benefits, education facilities in some instances, guarantee of satisfactory work conditions in areas such as health and safety as well as equal opportunities.

Voice in decision affecting Workers

Trade unions become a "spokesperson" for the staff. When matters concerning an individual employee or a group of employees arise, the trade unions job is to voice out the problem in order to negotiate for a remedy. In the event no agreement is settled or respected, the trade union members may enforce strikes or resistance to lockouts. They are able to also intervene to be able to resist schemes of the management which reduce employment, e. g. restructuring and automation

2. 6 Types of Trade Union

Craft or Occupation Union.

This kind of union was the earliest type developed, it made up of employees of a particular craft or skill no matter place of work. The advantage of craft unionism is the sense of solidarity, as there's a feeling of common interest between the members. In addition, as this union bears skilled workers, they have a good financial position for collective bargaining. On the other side, more and more new mechanical devices were being developed, the need for large numbers of skilled employees decreased.

One- Shop Union or House Union

The one-shop union organizes all workers in the same establishment or factory. This type of union has the advantage of being not too difficult to arrange because all workers share a common goal in securing a good collective agreement for his or her particular factory. However, as it is small, they have little bargaining power and it is easily dominated by management.

Common Employer Union.

2. 7 Characteristic of Trade Union

Trade unions show remarkable progress since their inception in Mauritius and since the union can be an essential and dynamic facet of the society it bears special characteristics such as:

Trade Union get together for common goals and interest

The members involve some materials of collective interest such as improving working conditions, better wages, benefits, job security amongst others. The trade unions contain the right to contest a managerial decision, if they considered that their members are in risk with the results.

Trade Union is an association of staff and salary earners:

Unions are essentially a cooperative labour marketing association whose aim is to safeguard human rights using one or even more labour market. In addition, in addition they bear a submit the progress of the society, cultural interest and political views of its members.

Trade unions have been implemented in order each sector of the working class bear a specific union. Mauritius therefore bears different Union association such as:

Agricultural Research & Extension Unit (AREU)

Mauritius Labour Congress (MLC)

Mauritius Trade Union Congress (MTUC)

National Trade Union Confederation (NTUC)

Trade Unions are basically voluntary organizations:

Members of any trade union are voluntary in nature. They are simply completely free to become member of a Trade Union or not; none is constrained to subscribe to a Trade Union. If anybody is forced to join a Union, the very essence of trade of trade unionism is defeated.

Unions are egalitarian bodies:

The Unions are self-governed; this is why why they can effectively act in our society. The union leaders are voted by the members and perform as per the Trade Union Act.

The Trade Union is a continuing association

Union is not really a daily affair. To be able to work effectively because of their adherents they ask a long term membership

Constant evolution in the characteristic of Trade Union

With this dynamic era, the union continually update their techniques and amend their work. With new difficulties in the workplace, the unions need to find infinite approaches in order to serve the union members.

Rapport with the Management:

The unions have the duty to increase the employers and employees relationship. They go through the process of negotiation and collective bargaining with the direction of the members' organisation concerning their problems. By doing this, the employer and employee relationship is enriched and enhance the quality and welfare of the employees.

2. 8 Functions of Trade Unions

Broadly speaking, trade unions perform two types of functions:

Militant Function

Amongst the many activities performed by trade unions is the betterment of the position of their members in relation to their employment. The aim of such activities is to ensure that the clauses of the hiring and psychological contract are respected. When the union fails to accomplish these aims through collective bargaining and negotiation, in extreme conditions they adopt drastic measures by means of go-slow, strike, boycott, work sabotage etc. to make the management react and reconsider their requests. Hence, these functions of the trade unions are known as militant or fighting functions.

Fraternal Function

Another actions performed by trade unions are to provide help its members in needy times, and enhancing their efficiency. Trade unions try to nurture a spirit of cooperation, mutual aid and promote friendly relationships and sharing of knowledge and culture amongst their colleagues. In some instances, they also arrange for legal assistance. Besides, these, they undertake many welfare measures for his or her members, e. g. , school for the training of children, library, reading-rooms, in-door and out-door games, and other recreational facilities. These activities, which might be called fraternal functions, obviously rely upon the availability of funds, which the unions raise by subscription from members and donations from outsiders, and also on the competent and enlightened leadership. Another broad classification of the functions of unions may be the following:

Intra-mural activities: These deals with whatever happens on the website of work and has direct impact on employees e. g. wages, strikes

Extra-mural activities: These activities help the employees to keep and enhance their efficiency or productivity e. g. , methods intended to foster a spirit of cooperation, promote friendly relations

Political activities: Modern trade unions also take up political activities to accomplish their objectives. Such activities may be related to the formation of a political party or those reflecting an attempt to get influence on public policy relating to matters connected with the interests of working class

Other Functions

Trade unions have a number of functions, one more important than the other with regards to the situations; nevertheless the five main general principles developed have been:

The service function

The representative function

The regulatory function

The government function

The public administration function

The service function

This involves the delivery of services and assist with the union members.

The representative function

This implies that the trade union will act like a delegate for the members at the workplace.

The regulatory function

This enables trade unions to actively participate in rule-making over the workplace. This can be done either:

directly - multi-employer collective bargaining e. g. through the Joint Industrial Council


indirectly - through regulatory legislation

The government and public administration function

Trade unions build relationships the government to assure they can accomplish their respective function within the law.

Trade unions also play an important role in:

improving bottom-up communication to be able to increase commitment of employees in meeting the organization's objectives

negotiating improvements to pay and working conditions to retain the people

encouraging companies to purchase training and development for better performance and personal as well as professional development of employees

acting as a positive change agent thus gaining employees' support for the smooth running of the organization

Protecting the interests of employees by firmly taking active participation in the management.

safeguarding organizational stability, growth, and leadership

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