TRADE UNIONS REPORT
TRADE UNION REPORT
The essence of a trade union is to look out for the workers in companies and ensure that their needs are addressed in addition to protecting their rights. The human resource management is a crucial part of the companies with their responsibility revolving around the workers. The HRM is solely responsible for hiring and managing workers for the ultimate benefit of the success of the company. As such, workers are a common factor between HRM and trade unions, which in turn, affects the functionality of each group. The following presentation is a detailed report about the link between the HRM and the trade unions in the construction industry within the United Kingdom. The report will also revolve around two major articles about trade unions identifying the major points related to the human resource management. The aim of the research is also meant to unveil the relationship between the HRM and the trade union sectors in companies. In the course of collecting information, the report will also reveal the effects that each sector has on each other and ultimately on the company. To acquire a realistic feeling in the report, the details will involve research on the construction industry, in the United Kingdom. The actuality of the brief is to scrutinize a trade union in the construction industry and the effects it has on the workers and companies in the same division of speciality. The report will be detailed and provide a clear link between HRM and trade unions in reference to the two articles and other literature sources.
Identification of the Organisation Being Examined
Over the recent years, trade unions have been on a decreasing trend that has seen workers in the UK trade unions reduce up to 30% by 2004. The Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians (UCATT) will be the focus of the brief. While writing the report, the research will look at the functionality of UCATT and the benefits associated with the organisation. Moreover, the report will scrutinize the link between UCATT and the human resource management within the various construction companies. The goal is to reveal the effect UCATT has on the world of construction and more on the workers who are members of the organisation. The two key articles in the report reveal that the trade unions in China, Poland and Britain encouraged changes that altered the functionality of organisations. Thus, it is essential to dig into the changes that UCATT has encouraged in the UK construction industry (UCATT, 2014).
One of the leading articles reveals the difficulty that the trade unions in China faced in the early 1960 when they were setting up in the country. The government did not approve of the unions because of the effects they had on the workers. Trade unions are a platform through which workers can voice their employment needs, which may be problematic for various companies. Some companies prefer managing their workers sans any outside control from unions, for example. The report will also focus on the HRM sector of a construction company and the roles played by this department are required in the briefing. To prove the functionality of the HRM in the construction sector, the report will use Vinci Construction’s human resource division as a subject of discussion. The focus is to present the function of Vinci Construction’s HRM with the aim of revealing the capabilities of this division in such companies (VINCI Construction UK, 2012).
There is a need to use different literature sources to examine the growth and reduction of trade unions in the UK. In turn, this area of focus will reveal and compare the issues bound to the HRM and the trade unions. Additionally, there will be an opportunity to identify how trade unions and the human resource departments have managed to coexist in companies, if they have done so. Gaining the information regarding the relationship between the HRM and the trade unions will also give essence of having the two sectors in the construction industry. As such, the importance of each department and organisation is determined. The brief will also provide a verdict of whether each of the two factors in the construction industry, the HRM and trade unions, are required or not. In addition, the report will also establish recommendations meant to encourage the coexistence of the two divisions in the UK’s construction sector. It is essential to compare the working environment and workers’ welfare in the construction industry who are members of trade unions with those who work independent of any organisations other than the employing companies in this industry.
Review of the Research Papers and Associated HR Literature
Bacon and Hoque (2010) reveal that the British government has considered improving the skill literacy of its citizens. There is a requirement to improve the current state in the country with the focus being adjusting the teaching methods applied in training employees in order to effect the government’s initiative. The process involves the increment of the functional literacy and numeracy. The government recognises the dire need of various departments in the country to function together and increase chances of improving the skill literacy in the country. The main departments that the British government has faith in include the human resource management, trade unions, and all individuals with the interest of increasing the skill literacy. The essence of having all the interested parties working towards achieving the same goal increases the chances of attaining higher literacy in the UK. The article notifies that the trade unions in the UK have of late become more involved in nurturing skills and in the course of doing so, they dispense large amounts of resources. The trade unions in the UK have introduced the union learning representative (ULR) role, which is bound to improve the skill literacy in the country (Bacon & Hoque, 2010).
Beaumont (1993) is keen on deducing the roles played by the human resource in terms of growing key concepts and skills among employees. It is essential to have a functional workforce and this is attained through training and exposure to comfortable environments. The human resource division in companies plays a major role in shaping the workers skills and given the opportunity to work with trade unions, they can deliver this role in an exceptional way. The motive of a company is to succeed in its area of speciality. To do so, the workforce has to be productive, bear the desired skills and work diligently. All these skills are instilled through training and exposure to various resourceful materials. The key reason behind the exposure is to increase the chances of attaining a reliable group of employees. In turn, the success of the involved company is secured and production of the labour force is guaranteed (Beaumont, 1993).
Kilby and McCabe (2008) is a literature source that looks into the human resource management in the construction industry. The aforementioned report talks about the history of the HRM sector in the construction industry with many of the departments starting out on a struggling trend. In the earlier days, heavy works made it quite difficult for the workers to complete their contracts on time in the road construction industry. However, adjustments and inclusion of feasible human resource departments eased the working conditions and increased chances of success. On the contrary, the introduction of trade unions among the workers had a negative impact on the construction industry. As mentioned in one of the primary articles, the introduction of trade unions was met with many critics because of the reception it received from the workers. China, for example, deployed the military to hinder the functionality of trade unions because workers had found a platform to air out their concerns (Kilby & McCabe, 2008).
Explanation of the Information Gathering Techniques Used
Information regarding the relationship between the HRM and trade unions in the construction industry can be retrieved using two distinct methods: qualitative and quantitative means. The purpose of choosing these two methods is to create an opportunity of gathering as much as possible information concerning the two aspects, HRM and trade unions. It is essential to acquire credible information for the sake of supporting theories and claims in the report. In addition, reliability of the sources is crucial in determining the function of the report. The recommendations provided in this report are crucial in providing advice to all the involved parties.
Qualitative means of gathering information involve active collection of details that support theories and claims made in the brief. It is crucial to acquire information from reliable sources that can prove the details relayed in the report. Therefore, the plan is to peruse through primary sources such as journals and reliable websites. The aim is to gather reliable information and enough details for the sake of acquiring the intended material. In the course of preparing the report, there are various claims in the form of hypothesises that need adequate details to prove. For instance, trade unions are known to be troublesome, which may be true or not. Thus, there is a need to inquire from various sources the truthfulness or falsity of the entire hypothesis in the report. The qualitative method is keen to go through several theoretical presentations, be it in websites or books, just to acquire credible information concerning the human resource management and the applicability of the trade unions. Support is a key aspect behind the information gathered in the whole process. Therefore, the qualitative method gives the evidence behind the claims in the theory bit of the report. Moreover, the evidence shows that the report is rich of valid information that can be related to the advice given in the conclusion section.
Quantitative methods of research are used to acquire the information regarding the HRM and trade unions in the construction industry. Numerical analysis is one of the methods of research that falls under quantitative means. It is essential for the report to speak about the data in regards to the effects that each of the sectors, trade unions and the human resources have on the success of companies in the UK. For instance, trade unions in conjunction with the HRM in the UK have taken upon themselves to revolutionise the labour forces in the country. Their effect is predicted to up the skill literacy among the workers in the country’s labour force by approximately 10%. The numerical analysis of the available sources provides adequate information regarding the success of such ventures. In addition, some sources reveal that trade union members have continuously declined over the years with the employees in the UK falling below 30% of all the workers. Thus, the data collected shows the benefits associated with the use of quantitative methods of collecting and analysing data (Blyton & Turnbull, 1992).
An Account and Analysis of the Findings
The sources provided an insight of both trade unions and human resource management sectors in regards to the road construction sector. It is clear that the government did not welcome the trade unions in the UK with open arms. However, the employees were quick to join them and apply them at the places of work. In addition, they were glad to find a concrete platform to air their working conditions including their remunerations. Trade unions are bridges between employers and their workforces. Thus, the unions are highly involved in negotiations on behalf of the workforces with an aim of reaching a point where both the employers and the employees are benefiting from their work relationship. In the olden days, the government was the main employer because it owned most of the factories. Therefore, they were against groups that would disturb the normal functionality of the relationship between them and their employers. China took the opposition of the trade unions very seriously and was determined to destroy them. For example, it deployed the military to the factories with an aim of stopping workers from engaging in any trade union activities (Pardey, 2010).
However, with time, the governments accepted the trade unions and employees became members without opposition. The effects of the trade unions were experienced throughout various countries with the human resource management working together with these sectors to ensure that the employees were functional and comfortable. Sources reveal that, in the UK, the HRM functions together with the trade unions to better the employees’ skills. This is a great step given the two parties were often uncomfortable to work together during the earlier days.
The Vinci Construction Company from the UK is an example of an institution where the HRM helps improve their workforces in various ways. For example, involving the workforces in social responsibility is a credible way of improving the skills of the workers. They do not only get to undertake the company’s work, but also improve the environment within which they work and reside, within the UK. The Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians (UCATT) is an active institution in the UK dedicated to ensuring that all the construction workers lead a comfortable life. It actively participates in various activities meant to improve the life of construction workers in the UK. Firstly, it fights for its members to receive remunerations that suit their workloads. The safety of construction workers is essential in the various places of work. Therefore, the UCATT is highly involved in keeping its members safe and seeking compensations for all the hurt workers in the union. Some construction workers, unfortunately, die in the line of duty, and the UCATT has to investigate the situation. Thus, some cases are considered the managers’ fault, for example, if they neglect a safety hazard. The UCATT makes such managers pay for the negligence and compensate the family of the deceased (Parliamentary, 2004)
The relationship between trade unions and the HRM are unavoidable and different in nature. At some point, the HRM and trade unions may choose to work together for the sake of improving the construction industry. For instance, in case the trade union is looking into a matter of compensation for a worker who was hurt or killed while working. The trade union and the HRM have to work together to resolve the matter. Additionally, in cases of negotiations between the HRM and trade unions, the two parties have to cooperate for the ultimate benefit of the workers. UCATT applies various techniques to achieve its goals as a union and they include campaigns that target the HRM with the aim of adjusting several working conditions for their members (Amos, Ristow, Pearse, & Ristow, 2009).
Success of a company is dependent on several factors such as the amount of investment made towards the capital, but more importantly, the functionality of its workforce. Clearly, the HRM has the duty of forming a feasible workforce that is bound to complete all the works of the company. As such, the workforce is the engine behind the functionality of the company. The labour force has to be excellent and motivated to work within a company. Several factors motivate workers, for example, the remuneration rate, the working conditions and other benefits associated with the company. The HRM is fully responsible for ensuring that workers receive adequate motivational factors that keep the workers satisfied. However, there are cases where the HRM is ignorant of the workers’ needs and renders some of the motivational factors irrelevant. Such decisions demotivate the employees and often lead to unproductive workforces.
Trade unions, by contrast, are dedicated to look out for their members. For example, in the road construction industry, the members are advised to join the UCATT. Joining the union creates several opportunities associated with the membership. These benefits include having an association to fight for the members in case of unfair remunerations at work. Additionally, they see to it that the hurt workers are fully compensated in case of injury or demise of the members while at work. Therefore, the union works to keep the workers comfortable and fights for their rights (Machin & Wood, 2005).
A recommendation towards the improvement of the relationship between the HRM and the trade unions in the road construction industry in the UK is for both entities to work together. There is an ultimate benefit when the two parties work together. A productive company achieves success through its workers who actively work towards the goals of the institution. As aforementioned, motivation is vital to the workers and is best achieved through several ways. Creating a comfortable working environment is a feasible way that the HRM in conjunction with the trade unions can achieve. The trade unions can relay to the HRM of the workers’ needs and the company readily complies with the requests to increase the workers’ comfort. Cooperation between the HRM and trade unions increases the chances of improving the workers’ productivity. In turn, the workers’ improved productivity leads to high volumes of revenues because of the success associated with the company. The functionality of the HRM will not be compromised; however, its functionality will be improved and assisted. The HRM will experience a positive turn out when they take the recommended steps towards improving the company. It will also receive assistance from the trade unions once the two parties corporate in their endeavours to improve the workers’ conditions and the company’s, as well (Mayhew, 2014).
The HRM is responsible for the process of recruiting workers into a new company and orient them to the working conditions. In addition, it is responsible for adjusting the working conditions and determining the remunerations of each worker. Therefore, in case of a problem with either of the aforementioned factors, they are to blame. Trade unions look out for their workers and aim to offer them ultimate working conditions. Thus, the employees are a common factor to both the trade unions and the HRM. The two parties can function together to ensure that the workers have a comfortable life at work.
Bacon, N. & Hoque, K., 2010. Exploring the relationship between union learning representatives and employer-provided training in Britain. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 21(5), pp. 720–741.
Amos, T., Ristow, A., Pearse, N. J. & Ristow, L., 2009. Human resource management. Claremont: Juta and Company Ltd.
Blyton, P. & Turnbull, P., 1992. Reassessing human resource management. Thousand Oaks: SAGE.
VINCI Construction UK, 2012. Stand out make a difference! [Online] (updated 2012) Available at: http://www.vinciconstruction.co.uk/About-Us/Stand-Out-Make-a-Difference.html. [Accessed 14 Apr. 2014].
Kilby, A. & McCabe, S., 2008. Human resource management (HRM) in construction: an exploration of issues and practice. Association of Researchers in Construction Management, 103-112.
Machin, S. & Wood, S., 2005. Human resource management as a substitute for trade unions in British workplaces. ILRReview, 58 (2): 201-218.
Beaumont, P. B., 1993. Human resource management: Key concepts and skills. Thousand Oaks: SAGE.
Pardey, D., 2010. The changing relationship between trades unions and management. [Online] (updated 29 Apr. 2010) Available at: HYPERLINK “http://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/hro/features/1017793/the-changing-relationship-trades-unions-management” http://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/hro/features/1017793/the-changing-relationship-trades-unions-management
Mayhew, R., 2014. What challenges do unions pose for human resource management? [Online] (updated 2014) Available at: HYPERLINK “http://yourbusiness.azcentral.com/challenges-unions-pose-human-resource-management-7269.html” http://yourbusiness.azcentral.com/challenges-unions-pose-human-resource-management-7269.html
Parliamentary, 2004. Memorandum by the Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians (UCATT). [Online] (updated 19 Feb. 2004) Available at: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200304/ldselect/ldeucom/67/67we24.htm
UCATT, 2014. How we help. [Online] (updated 2014) Available at: http://www.ucatt.org.uk/how-we-help