Sample HR Management Coursework Paper on Trade Unions

The Role of Trade Unions

With the high level of dynamism in the political, social and educational environments that are aimed at increasing the level of awareness of employees’ rights, the role played by trade unions is considered significant across different systems. Notably, a trade union is described as an organization of workers that aims at enhancing their economic status through advocating for better working conditions, protection of their rights and an increase of wages offered (Waddington 208).

  Considerably, the number of trade unions around the globe has been increasing since the 1930s due to different factors including the growth of industries and the improvement of the economy (Gumbrell-McCormick, Rebecca and Richard 10). In essence, trade unions are developed to help in promoting collective bargaining campaigns for the employees.  This means that the union is involved in negotiations with employers on behalf of their members. As such, since the organizations are made up of many workers, it has greater voice compared to individual employees.

 Understandably, trade unions also play a critical role in the development of essential labor laws that help in protecting the rights of their members. In different cases, the organizations push for the implementations of specific policies that are deemed necessary in improving the working environment and the general state of employees. Further, after the development of these laws, unions disseminate the information to their members thus enabling them to know the recent development in their working environments.  Consequently, laws such as the social security act and the health act in the United States were enacted as a result of the efforts of trade unions. The unions have also helped in the elimination of undesirable labor practices adopted by employers.  Acts such as discrimination in the workplace and overworking of employees are always discouraged by these entities.  

Growth of Trade Unions

However, over the last two decades, the number of trade unions in different parts of the globe has been declining due to the increasing challenges in various sectors. In Australian economy, for example, the total number of workers subscribing to join the organizations has reduced to below 15% (Waddington 207). This has, in turn, led to the decrease in the number of unions in the country as they lack enough bargaining power to forward any agenda to both the government and employers.  Other factors leading to decline in the number of unions in various parts of the world include the changes in both the labor and product markets with many companies globalizing their operations, therefore, limiting unions’ contribution capacity (Gumbrell-McCormick, Rebecca and Richard 10).  Additionally, many firms are now forming internal unions that perform the same functions as those carried out by external ones.  The development of different cultures that discourage collectivism and promote individualism has also contributed to the decline of trade unions.

The Future of Trade Unions

    The future of trade unions in the next 25 years is highly uncertain due to the changing environments and employers perception on the same.  Moreover, the continuous deterioration of global economy is affecting the general employment rate many companies are laying off some of their employees to cut on operating costs (Waddington 215).  This, in turn, affects the financial status of trade unions as they depend on the annual contribution of members to efficiently run their tasks. In the long run, the development of internal trade unions that are managed by the firms will increase since it gives the employers a platform for addressing the challenges facing their workers directly.

Work Cited

Gumbrell-McCormick, Rebecca, and Richard Hyman. Trade unions in Western Europe: hard times, hard choices. Oxford University Press, 2013.retrieved  from:

Waddington, Jeremy. “Trade union membership retention in Europe: The challenge of difficult times.” European Journal of Industrial Relations 21.3 (2015): 205-221. Retrieved from: