The convergence and divergence not only represent different ways in which the International HRM is conducted but also reflects different traditions through which HRM is explored.
Convergence and divergence can also be stated as Universalist and contextual paradigm. Universalist paradigm concentrates on the management of HRM across various national borders. That is the human resource practices and policies can be transferred from one country to another by believing that those which worked well in one country will work in the other country as well. On the other hand, the contextual paradigm leads to the necessity of considering all the organisational internal and external factors. The divergence HRM compares systems of one country with the other country and then identifies similarities and differences then forms the antecedents from those differences.
In the convergence and divergence perspective, trade unions play a vital role in the use of International HRM practices. These trade unions can be traced back nearly 400 years ago. During the end of 18'Th century, there is an industrial revolution which caused the workers to increasingly dependent on their employees resulted in the upcoming of trade unions to sort out those financial issues and providing insurance benefits.
Trade unions towards International HRM
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The relationship between international HRM and trade unions is very complex and worthy. In the 18th century trade unions were formed to help the sick and unemployed in the organizations. However they were failed to survive the economic conditions in the later 19'Th century. Then in their place new trade unions were formed to achieve respectability of workers, unemployment pay through centralised and de centralised bargaining with industries. These management concepts had challenged the functions of trade unions. Along with these concepts, employee relation also took charge in industrial revolution placing emphasis on individualism which saw an de-recognition of trade unions. Instead in UK more number of employees adopted flexible strategies through global and employee empowerment which enhanced good relationships with trade unions.
Trade unions make important contribution to almost all the organizations which adopted partnership approach through creating an industrial relations climate. Adopting partnerships with various industries enhanced the organizations to improve financial performance, provided global competitiveness and thicken the relations with others. In most of the circumstances Trade union reps and their HR contacts enjoy positive working relationships. But there is also a decline in the operation of trade unions due to the growth of various needs and management practices. It is most evident in the MNC's where different governments have their own practices and also the difference in the Human resource policies of that particular government. Thus trade unions have a mixed outcome on the International human resource management.
Trade unions on British Airways crisis
Trade unions of British airways have been protesting against its cost cutting plans. In 2009, the British carrier was hard hit by its downturn posting a record loss of over £401 m for that annual year. There may be various reasons for the losses that are been incurred but these losses forced the British airways governing body to change its working plans. So in order to act upon the losses, BA issued its plans to cut its working force which will result in putting the staff into jeopardy of more than 40,000 employees. It also released a statement of decreasing the pay cut of overwhelmingly 2.6% to pilots and 4.2% to staff.
Apart from these practices BA chairman told shareholders that the airlines are considering issuing bonds. Putting together all these, these cuts are destined to save the airways up to £26m a year. In regardence of all these issues, Steve turner of union unites said to call out the strike of all the working professionals which would result in a disaster in BA economy. This same situation is repeated in 2011 march where the agreements between the parties broke down and forcing the union unite to name strike dates. However, a softening of the rhetoric between both sides reflected in statements, didn't still come to a peaceful agreement where the strike after the Easter period still remains.
Trade unions on Air France
Similarly in France, six trade unions have called on an airline strike on an issue of pension reform bill in 2010. The statement states that the retirement age of the staff was 60-65 years and will be issued an retirement pension from the age of 65 years. But the trade unions wanted a change in the form stating a full state pension from the age of 62 years. Also about one-third of Air France staff lives outside France and uses their travel concessions and discounts which were not being issued. So a final decision was taken by the government stating too provide all the incentives and pensions to the senior working staff.
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The main outcome from the riot between trade union and Airways is due to the difference in the human resource practices which are been applied. So the relationship between trade unions and human resource practices is very important to enhance the convergence or divergence of the organizations in various countries on an equal context.
Public has a very good approach towards trade unions in Ireland. Irish congress of trade unions has represented its trade unions a social partner through negotiating organizational agreements. The context in which the organizational human resources were formed results in the way in which the agreements between the trade unions and that organization were managed. The context of strong organizational economy in terms of maintaining a coherent and consistent strategy depends upon the union's behaviour. Trade unions also faced a number of challenges.
Disenchantment amongst low-paid workers
Workplace social partnership
Absence of statutory trade union mechanism in the organization.
Though the problems faced by trade unions, degree of union activism was found to be very low. Survey contains various organizations perspectives of having trade union relationships and vice versa. Finally the most important attribute of the survey is to have good negotiation skills among organizations to have best HRM practices universally.
A common theme in the International human resource management perspective has been convergence and divergence in HR practice resulting from globalization. This debate has been an antecedent economic theory. There is a clear evidence of continued diversity in patterns of economic activity and employment relations which contributed towards capitalism.
European HRM is problematic. Despite all the pressures towards convergence, differences in cultural and trade union context produce divergent relationships. Studies also suggest that the divergence of HR practices in French economies do not constitute convergence to an International human resource model. Also the attitudes towards trade unions in different countries have similar impacts on similar issues like price cuts and so on.
Role of trade unions on International Human Resource management practices has an influential impact on the organization's functionality. Trade union decisions can be mostly found fruitful in most MNC's where all those follow an universalist approach. In the contextual paradigm, trade unions have different to be specific in their decision making as their decisions may hamper the normal working of an organization. Hence from the context of the above examples it can be very difficult to state the role of trade unions towards convergence and divergence of international HRM but precisely we can see universalistic approach in their operations.