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The Trade Union or Labour Union movement is a continuous 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”.
Independently, the workers do not bear the power to defy the top management. Therefore they grouped and seek to institute their terms and conditions of employments. When they realised that negotiating as an individual, the manager would be more powerful, for an individual would not matter as much a group in regard of running an organisation.
According to Cunnison, “Trade Union is a monopolistic combination of wage earners who stand to the employers in a relation of dependence for the sale of their labour and even for the production, and that the general purpose of the association in view of that dependence is to strengthen their power to bargain with the employers”
In addition, Trade union would have the role of safeguarding the interests of its members, by protecting and promoting the human rights as well as improving their working conditions, securing economic benefits, job security, protects members against unfair dismissal at workplace and create better employer-employee relationships among others.
Under the Trade Union Act, 1926, this term is defined as any combination whether temporary or permanent, formed primarily for the purpose of regulating the relations between workmen and employers, or imposing restrictive conditions on the conduct of any trade or business, and includes any federation of two or more trade unions.
We can broadly say that not only does Trade Union support a combination and associations of employees but it also act as a facilitator for the employer. ( To be continued)
1.2 Characteristic of Trade Union
Trade unions have shown remarkable progress since their inception in Mauritius and as the union is an essential and dynamic aspect of the society it bears special characteristics such as:
Trade Union come together for common goals and interest
The members have some materials of collective interest such as improving working conditions, better wages, benefits, job security among others. The trade unions have the right to contest a managerial decision, if they considered that their members are at risk with the outcome.
Trade Union is an association of workers and salary earners:
Unions are essentially a cooperative labour marketing association whose aim is to safeguard human rights on one or more labour market. In addition, they also bear a hand in the progress of the society, cultural interest and political views of its members.
Trade unions have been implemented so as 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 completely free to become a member of a Trade Union or not; none is constrained to subscribe to a Trade Union. If any individual 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 the reason 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 continuous association
Union is not a daily affair. In order to work effectively for 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 complications in the workplace, the unions need to find infinite approaches so as to serve the union members.
Rapport with the Management:
The unions have the responsibility to improve 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. In so doing, the employer and employee relationship is enriched and enhance the quality and welfare of the employees.
1.3 Nature and Scope of Trade Union
The existence of an influential and recognised trade union is a pre-requisite to the industrial development pace of the country. With modernization in different 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. This is where the trade union emerged; they ensured that the human rights of their members are respect as per the laws and the constitution.
Trade Unions are currently considered 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 their members in the following ways:
First, they are more effective and efficient when the need of negotiation is required between employers and employees by attempting to create a win-win situation.
They facilitate the flow of communication between workers and the management, by providing the guidance and support to both of them.
The Union leaders will seek a health and safety in the working environment.
In addition, they also act as an educational institution; they provide different types of courses to their members.
They also accelerate the pace of economic development for instance; they act as a recruiting and selecting agent for the unemployed workers, managing conflicts in the organisation, inculcating corporate social responsibilities to the members among others.
1.4 Aims and objectives
This investigation will focus on the role and responsibilities of Trade Union movements in our country and the extent to which they are efficient and effective in both the public and private sector.
The four specific objectives of this study are:
Evaluate the perception of usefulness of trade unions as well as its accessibility in private sector as well as public sector.
Assessing the employees’ intention to rely on Trade Unions and measure the gauge of satisfaction in a Union’s member perspective
Investigate the methods used by the Trade Union movement to negotiate better working conditions, for negotiation, leadership and securing economic benefits.
Finding out how the Trade Union deal with certain crisis that arises in the workplace and the concrete involvement of the Trade Unions for their members
1.5 Background of study
Mauritian development promises to promote standards of living for its population by bringing about a greater productivity through the diffusion of technological innovation as well as updated methods in exploiting equipment and the human resources, superior specialization, enhanced access to credit and capital as well as cheaper goods and services.
At the same time, policies, laws and acts were amended for the welfare of the citizen, for instance the employment rights act 2008. However with the sole vision of making the country a world- wise competitive one, little importance is given to the concrete implementation of those laws on a daily basis. On that basis, Trade Union movements were launched in Mauritius, so as to voice out the workers’ rights.
The chief target of the project is to identify the effectiveness of the roles and responsibilities of trade unions in our Mauritian system. It briefly examines the evolution of these movements in the country, by going back on their very start. In addition, a highlight of the intervention of the Trade Unions in our various sectors and how their concrete actions contribute to their members. The document will also enlighten the functions and importance of trade union in the Mauritian context as well as providing reasons to enrol as a Trade Union member. Comparing the old managerial style to the new one, the paper will also bring emphasis on why the popularity of Trade Union has diminished.
As a group of students, we implemented a top-down, quantitative approach to our research, which allowed us to analyse the various roles of trade unions in Mauritius, as this was considered the most appropriate method for studying the topic; we evaluated (NAME OF TRADE UNION and AREA THAT TRADE UNION DEALS WITH e.g public/private sector…TO BE ADDED AFTER INTERVIEW..) Adhering to the concept of interviews and surveys, our observations were pooled to provide a broader and more precise representation than that provided by a sole investigation technique.
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