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Trade Unions & Employment Law. GCSE Business Studies. tutor2u ™. Revision Presentations 2004. Trade Unions. Organisation that employees can join in order to have their interests and goals better represented Categories

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Trade Unions & Employment Law

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Trade Unions & Employment Law

GCSE Business Studies

tutor2u™

Revision Presentations 2004


Trade Unions

  • Organisation that employees can join in order to have their interests and goals better represented

  • Categories

    • Craft of skills union - represent skilled workers e.g. Musicians Union (MU)

    • Industrial unions - represent members of one particular industry e.g. Fire Brigades Union (FBU)

    • General unions - unions which recruit workers from all types of industries and with any level or range of skills e.g. Amicus – Manufacturing Science and Finance Union (MSF)

    • White-collar unions - represent office workers e.g. National Union of Teachers (NUT)


Trades Union Congress (“TUC”)

  • Role: to represent all British trade unions at a national and international level

  • Tries to influence government decision making in best interests of unions and workers

  • Coordinates with trade union movements in other EU countries


Benefits of Union Membership

  • To an employee

    • More powerful voice when bargaining as a group (e.g. for pay rises) as can threaten industrial action such as strikes

    • Workers will have their individual rights better protected e.g. if dismissed unfairly or discriminated against

  • To an employer

    • Cheaper and quicker to bargain with one trade union representative than individual workers

    • Workers are better motivated if they feel their interests are being looked after by trade unions


Collective Bargaining

  • When one trade union representative negotiates with employers on behalf of all workers belonging to that trade union

  • Negotiations may involve areas such as pay, working conditions and fringe benefits.


Forms of Industrial Action

  • Strike

  • Work to rule

  • Boycott

  • Go slow

  • Overtime ban


Reasons for Declining Influence of Trade Unions

  • Laws passed which have weakened power of trade unions

  • Decline in trade union membership

  • Change in structure of industry from heavily unionised manufacturing industry towards service sector businesses

  • Change in philosophy from conflicts due to collective bargaining to individual bargaining between firms and employees


Employers’ Associations

  • Represents views and interests of companies within a certain industry

  • Act like a pressure group on government and also negotiate with trade unions.

  • Examples

    • Universities and Colleges Employers Association

    • Engineering Employer’s Federation


Main UK Employment Legislation

  • Equal Pay Act 1970

    • Ruled that both sexes should be treated equally in terms of pay and other employment issues

  • Sex Discrimination Act 1975

    • Made discrimination on grounds of sex or marital status illegal in all aspects of working life

  • Race Relations Act 1976

    • Made discrimination on grounds of colour, race or nationality in terms of employment illegal

  • Disability Discrimination Act 1995

    • Ruled that employers must treat a disabled person equally as others unless good reason

  • Working Time Regulations 1998

    • EU legislation that set a limit on maximum umber of hours (48 hours) employees should be required to work in a week. Employees can choose to work more hours if they wish.


Minimum Wage

  • Legal minimum hourly wage rate that a business can pay an employee

  • Introduced into UK in 1999

  • 2003 minimum wage for someone over 21 is £4-20

  • Rate is subject to regular reviews and is likely to be increased every few years as cost of living increases


Businesses Most Affected by an Increase in Minimum Wage

  • Small businesses who find it harder to cope with increases in costs

  • Businesses which employ a large number of low-skilled workers

  • Examples:

    • Catering

    • Hotels

    • Leisure businesses


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