This measure is also notable, as while new regulations have not been introduced to restrict facility time, it is a sweeping power granted to the government, and maybe use extensively in the future. Other changes include new powers to be granted to the certification officer to allow them a greater level of power when investigating trade unions for potential breaches of their statutory duties, as well as increasing the powers to take action against those trade unions Trade Union Act Other changes which were proposed, but have been abandoned, include the reinstatement of regulations that will allow employers to take on agency staff at the time of strike.
Notably, this act covers the entire United Kingdom, including Scotland and Wales, as trade union law is not devolved Brodies, Members of Parliament and both Scotland and Wales were highly vocal against this act, but it was still past. Overall, the act may be seen as creating a much stronger bias in shifting the power away from unions towards employees.
Trade Union in the UK – The WritePass Journal : The WritePass Journal
During the early days of unions, their power resided with their ability to represent their members, and redress the asymmetry of power which has existed between employees and employers; where an employer was able to exert a high level of power, including unfair treatment Laybourn, However, the power of the unions has been subsided from some time, particularly following the long coalmine strikes during the s, which were highly unpopular with the public Laybourn, The act makes a significant changes, and moves very strongly away from powers of the union, biasing the relationship towards employees.
Within any workplace, maybe argued that an employer is always in a position of strength, they have the ability to hire and fire employees, set terms and conditions, and dictate the way in which the employment relationship operates. The employers are required to abide by the law, whether it is health and safety, terms and conditions, or minimum payment issues and hours, but the way this is enforced is through the employer undertaking a wrong action, which is then questioned by the employee.
While unions are powerful, and there is an ability for the group voice to be used to support their rights, employees have a greater level of power. By reducing the powers of the trade unions, the act is reducing the powers of the unions in a number of ways, increasing burdens in terms of administration, operations and costs, while reducing their ability to access resources.
By examining the way in which the new act may impact on a past dispute, there is a clear indication of the impact on both the employer and the trade union. By examining this is possible see the difficulties, and the increased pressures that will be placed on trade unions to garner sufficient support, especially when many members may be ambivalent to the potential action if they have no direct interest in it.
Conversely, this case clearly demonstrates the way in which Virgin Trains may have benefited from the new act if it had been in place during their dispute, as it would have been much less likely they would have faced industrial action, and there were also legal approaches which could be adopted to try avoid industrial action, or simply use court action as a way of delaying it.
The criticism of this is not only the increased difficulty, but the way in which it may be argued as contravening the European Convention on Human Rights McFarlane, The European Convention on Human Rights, particularly article 11, are relevant to this, as this requires freedom of association, and places a positive obligation on the UK government. Overall, there is a shift in power from trade unions towards employees, and a shift in the burdens associated with administering and supporting union workers away from employers towards the trade unions. It is highly likely that under the new measures there will be far fewer official industrial action is taking place, while trade unions will also face increased costs associated with the ongoing operations.
Trade unions may find they need to undertake more aggressive marketing and demonstrate the way in which they can work for their members, while employers may simply choose to encourage non-union membership, and ambivalence towards voting.
Booth, A. The Economics of the Trade Union. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bowers, J.
Solidarity Forever: Talking Transition with Trade Unions
Oxford: Oxford University Press. Bracci, E. Public sector accounting, accountability and austerity: more than balancing the books? Brodies, The Trade Union Act what is changing? Ewing, K. The Eclipse of the Rule of Law? Industrial Law Journal , 45 3 , pp.
Lane, J. Industrial Law Journal , 46 1 , pp. Laybourn, K. A History of British Trade Unionism, c. London: Sutton Publishing.
Liberty, Campaigning on the Trade Union Act McFarlane, P. How the Trade Union Act will change the rules on industrial action. People Management. Moss, R. Trade Union Act becomes law. Personnel Today. Taylor-Gooby, P.
The Divisive Welfare State. Social Policy Administration , 50 6 , pp.
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