Employees Relations In Uk
The use of the computing technology, internet and move from the constructing based economy to most service based have brought very realistic changes in the style and ways of people working in Britain. Quality and balanced healthy life of workers has been recognized by the policy makers and also general public. In Britain industrial disputes and walkouts were common from 1960s to 1970s. These relations have direct affect on UK government. Industrial chaoses were created by the weak management and obstinate unions; that manifested the low productivity and disputes. These disputes have weakened the UK and personal mangers were not reputed during this period. In 1980 when HRM appeared in UK the personal management became bogged down (Hendry, 1995:12). The dramatic change occurred during the 1980s and 1990s. Power and role of unions was reduced by the common factors like new politics, restrictive legislation on the industrial and gigantic restructuring of the many organizations. Since the 1980 very effective measures are taken to build the employment relations.
The UK governments after 1980 have set their goals to achieve the full employment and fulfilling to their desires to work better in their workplaces. The measuring of the employment is easy while measuring the fulfilling their desire is a hard task. What are the dimensions towards the changes in employments relation in last thirty years? These are the influence of employees over their work places, job quality, stress and efforts, job security and most important is the relations of the employees and employers.
Rose (2008) has seen the employment relations as employee involvement that works both upward and downward practices. This involvement may be from employee to management upward or from the management to downward employee; applied at group or individual levels. Further explaining the downward communication is used mainly in the form of the newsletters, journals, employee’s handbooks, teams briefing to educate the employees so they can coordinate with management to enhance the performance improvements. When employees join the company they are provided the handbook of company which explains the background, purpose and objectives of the company. For good organizational performance employees give their suggestions concerning the methods and improvements in organization. Employees also play a good role to build relationships with management for the purpose of high organizational performance. Industrial relationships arise from the paid employment and also involve the government, management and unions. Economic surplus, purchase of labor, imbalance of power between employer and worker and situation like conflict and cooperation are the main aspects of defining the relationship (Blyton and Turnbull 2004).
The job satisfaction from work improved considerably in last 30 years, for the employees of private and public sectors, in the new workplaces compared to old workplaces which were shut and all other work groups. The pay satisfaction was also another influencing factor for their satisfaction. Numbers of jobs in market also determine the employee’s sensation of job satisfaction. It is remarkable to say that employment in British economy has increased and three quarters of the population are in employment in UK. The Workplace Employee Relations Survey (WERS) in 1998 addressed the issue to know which employees were satisfied with their job status and work performance. It was noticed that 65% employees showed their loyalty to their organizations and positive association between the employee’s commitment and their job satisfaction. The survey data of WERS 2004 have shown that management support to public sector is more rampant than in private sector and it asserts that 60 percent managers were in favor of trade unions and only 5 percent were not in favor of that. This WERS shows a rapid decline in unions as 57 workplaces have no union membership and majority of the workers in 22 percent workplaces made their unions (Mike Leat 2007).
Employees in UK felt the sense of the job security in UK. This sense of the job security was noticeable among the men and women, both in private and public sectors and all income groups. Quality of employment relations was perceived with considerable improvements. The relations were found both in public as well as in private sectors. Men and women working in different organizations felt these employment relation’s improvements. The relationship between managers and workers is an important pointer to maintain environment favorable for the employees at the work place. It further provides the job qualities if good working relations exist at the workplace.
Wages grew slightly with the increase of the 2% per year. Wages growth in private sectors was higher than that of the public sectors. The reduction of wages discrimination for last 30 years is seen an evidence although these reductions were on small in quantity. Labor market conditions were favorable for the employees to build the good employment relations. The labor market in sense of the real wages and hour work has performed well in UK during the 1990s (Fitzner, 2006). Richer set of the measures show a good and quality job pictures. A little job satisfaction declines in 1990s but it got sustainability after 2000s (Taylor 2002).
The recognition of the quality of employment is now growing in UK as public and academic policies are becoming an important issue in its own ways. Quality of work is also a key indicator for the well being of employees and as it influences on productivity which deserves to be taken along the volume of the employment (Hewitt 2004, Johri 2005 Coats and Max 2005, Amicus 2006).
Union Decline in UK
The new trend is found there that young employees are less likely members of the unions as compared to past. During the 1970s union membership was high but now it is falling for over twenty years.
In UK employment protection, the process is completed through the explicit legislation or de facto policy. Incumbents are given protections and they can draw benefits and employment protection may also adversely affect the duration of the employment. In this way the firing rate of employment has been reduced so firms post new jobs with due to low incentives. Policy makers use another instruments to boost the employment like wage subsidies.
Different commentators have observed this rise in employment relations in a very optimistic way as Rita Donaghy Chairman of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) has commented on this in the same way. Good employment relations are becoming the cause of decline in unemployment and these employment relations give a very high competitive edge to organizations. Service sector and economy rise in last quarter of the 20th century has reduced the traditional industries. Benefits are enormous when a mutual trust among employees and employers exists and also trade unions are part of these mutual relationships. Problems reductions measures are taken there on workplace before entangling in these situations. Partnership is considered to be a positive factor to generate the ideas and using the skill and knowledge to enhance the chances of success. Due to decline in union membership since 1970s now the unions are paying attention to strengthen the legal rights of their members. As WERS has professed to identify the applications of the approach, later findings are making doubt on whether these applications must be applied than hitherto. According to the WERS 2004 reports the diffusion of management actions and practices has been muted in recent years (Kersley 2005). There are two important points which ask the reader to understand fully. Neil Millward has focused on the influencing bodies over the employees on their workplace. He identified the following elements.
Managerial goals are always based on their policies to engender the employee’s commitment.
Flexibility of employees with respect to work or jobs performed
Emphasizing on the quality in its outputs and processes.
Integration of strategic business planning with the management’s personnel policies
In 1994 Millward has pointed the ingredients of the new paradigm on the results of the 1990 Workplace Industrial Relations Survey.
The term IR Industrial relation has long history since 1920s and was commonly used in Britain. Another term Personnel management PM also joined this term in 1980s in UK. Third one very important term known as Human Resource Management (HRM) has significant role with other two terms. All of three terms denote that people are very important asset of the UK industrial activities. Industrial Relations IR has settled many issues in UK industry. According to Paul Edwards employment relations have main parts as managerial relations and market relations. Market relations calculate the wage, pensions, price of hours of work and holidays. Market relations determine the price of per hour work and managerial relation count the progress of the work during that time. Trade unions represent the employees and play an important role to set the relations with a single employer. These trade unions are governed by the government through negotiation or laws in UK. In 1970s a social contract defines that how the trade unions were agreed to accept the moderate wages in return of the tax concession (Edwards 2003).
Industrial Relations and Performance in UK
Consequences of industrial relations have been an issue in last century in UK. Economists have organized the association of the work performance with institutions like trade unions. However these theories are challenged by the economic institutions in recent years. Conventional theory says that social relationships are the result of the industrial relations and trade union’s affects are also claimed in this theory. Political rational has made changes in the management and public service; modernized the pay system in UK. It is evident that partial convergence between the public sector and private sector has occurred.
Barriers to partnership between unions and management
It is said that partnership between unions and employer is not perpetual and is not also adopted. It is required that unions must have powers to make their contribution towards the adaptation of the high performance work practices HPWP (Godard 2004). Henry (2002) also argues that focusing on the cost reduction in the competitive market and relying on those measures which lead to make decisions and desire for the management prerogative are highly substantial. He also suggests that partnership in Britain may be very feasible where union acceptance is high and very optimistic as value-added competition exists in UK.
Provision of a Strong Leadership
Current economic situation has thrown up the leadership challenges, for the positive and fundamental changes in public sector employment. On the other hand also retaining the employees support and letting alone the confrontations, this requires the effective participation of the employees and providing them positive template to complete the desired changes. Human Resource once again can play a pivotal role to manage the employment relations at individual as well as collective level. It is aimed to produce a climate which is helpful to produce and achieve the desired results.
UK is passing through transition period of the employment relations both individually and collectively. Professor William Brown and his colleagues at the Cambridge University are working to make social research on work programs in future developments. Today’s development in employment relations is due to workplace’s revolution. Future developments in employment relations will determine the progress of the factors for the last thirty years. We do not mean that establishment of the employment relation system will allow the employers to exercise the unilateral power on those people who work for them. It is clear from the research work that employer are making changes to deal with trade unions and tolerating the prospects of the trade unions. The active corporate hostility of employers towards the trade unions is less apparent than it was thirty years ago.
So for the collective bargaining system in UK is considered to be a well negotiated resulting in agreements which provided conciliation and ensured compromise. Companies can improve their corporate performance through agreements; which recognize the realities of power relationship in industry. Trade unions are willing to provide workplace innovation support.
Changes in employment laws have influenced the employment relations. These laws are providing the recognition of the trade union’s rights, representation of the individual employee’s rights on all workplace and not only those where trade unions are independent and autonomous by employees. This new partnership approach is being now shaped in UK by incremental implementation of the European Union social regulations.
Transformation in employment relations cannot neglect the changing nature of work. Future of the trade unions is also directly linked with employment relations however the employees have gained unilateral control over the workplace. Professor Ed Heery and colleagues have examined the role of the trade unions for the contingent workers as these trade unions attract the new kind of employees to transform them into their ranks. It is evident from the record that increasingly Britain’s workplaces are becoming the free of influence of the trade unions. It is apparent that most companies in UK are introducing the new forms of consultation of employees into their establishment. This is aimed to achieve the improved business performance and this trend will increase into next years as the consultation directives and European Union information are transposed into UK employment law. It is obvious that Britain governments without Labor would have not signed the Maastricht treaty, passed the employment laws and introduced a national minimum wage program. Goos and Manning (2003) have argued that number of well paid jobs has been increased in UK for last 25 years and bad paid jobs are disappearing from the market. This is due to new technology and changing structure of the labor force cannot define the growing polarization of jobs. The job polarization declined the mass manufacturing which has undermined the social mobility prospects and low paid workers are shifting to good paid jobs with benefits of permanent employment.
In this paper we have focused upon the employment relations and their impacts on future developments. A detail study of the employment relation changes during the last thirty years is discussed and also the importance of these changes and its impacts on future developments. The Work Employee Relations Survey 2004’s results are included in this paper which signifies that managers are interested in growth of the unions. Employment relations have produced the sense for the employees to seek the job security in UK. The decline in unions has become more prevalent and young workers prefer to perform unilaterally on workplaces. It is noted that management is willing to see the role of the unions because union’s recognition protects the employee and a barrier between employer and workers is established. Employment relations have resisted the employers to exercise the unilateral powers on workers. The trend of conciliation and agreements have filled the gap between the workers and employers; thus these agreements strengthening the bond among the unions, employers and workers. New employment laws are enacted to make the recognition of trade unions and employee’s rights of wages and work hours. Finally Goos and Manning arguments say that now the well paid jobs are increasing in UK which is a good sign for the employees and employment relations in UK.
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