NEHC has operations in 3 departments medical and pipeline equipment, medical gas installation and service and service maintenance. “A Trade Union (Labour union) can be defined as a continuous association of workers for the aim of maintaining as well as improving their employment conditions ( Cook, 1997p46-57). Trade Unions have evolved into quite a number of forms over the past several years due to the influence of the ever domineering political as well as economic regimes. The first Trade Unions started way back as a result of unfair and very harsh treatment that was experienced by the workers in the growing industries during the Capitalist system (Webb, Sidney, Webb,& Beatrice 1920p.90-98)..
The beginners of Trade unions are thought to be the Tolpuddle Martyrs who were agricultural laborers and were imprisoned for uniting into seven people and forming a negotiating block. They tried to fight for security of their jobs, fair treatment, favorable conditions of work, prevailing of justice, benefits as well as wages (Webb, Sidney, Webb, &Beatrice,1920p.90-98).Trade Unions like any other stable and dedicated to service Union have their own rights, which include:
The right to seek for their rights through collective bargaining (Galenson, 1976p123-176).
The right of assembly as well as association, including the right to join a Trade Union (Cook, 1997p46-57).
The right to be listened to and not unfairly dismissed (Tillman, & Cummings, (1999p 362-298).
The advantages of existence of Trade union in NECH are that: they will lead to increased job security through collective bargaining incase the employer offers termination. In this case, the Union will stand by you and demand for your return to work.
Through Trade Unions in NEHC, an employee will be able to develop skills in decision-making since he/she interacts with several people with different ethnicities and backgrounds and therefore having quite different decisions that they take in their lives. Through Trade Unions also in NEHC, one’s spirit of participation is geared up since this is a union that calls for full participation for quality assurance of work conditions.
In addition, responsibility and solidarity are very important aspects of life and are easily developed through Trade Unions. Responsibility is build through the fact that one is obliged to participate fully in his/her position so as to be able to contribute positively to the Trade Union. Solidarity is build through a feeling of togetherness and appreciation that one has somewhere to belong.
Existence of Trade Unions in NEHC will facilitate in making negotiations for better working terms as well as conditions among the workers. The workers are able to achieve this through their appointed union negotiators who represent them and ensure that the workers speak together and with one voice. The employers then have to listen and to some point, a compromise is reached whereby all the workers are now able to share the available benefit. This will lead to constant co-ordination and understanding between the workers and the employer and through this they will all work in one spirit to the realization of the company’s goals.
Trade Unions in NEHC will also ensure that there is equitable distribution of resources among the workers as well as payment of equal wages to workers doing the same job and according to merit. Through this injustice is curbed where you may find workers doing the same job and some are paid more wages than others. This lead to boosting of self-acceptance and input of full efforts in ones position of work knowing that even when wages differ, it’s only because of merit such levels of education
Trade Unions in NEHC will work hard to ensure that workers are doing their job in desirable environment by pressing the management to mobilize people to collect litter and drain all the nearby garbage. This clean environment boosts the worker’s self-esteem as well as morale and consequently, their work performance goes up.
Trade unions in NEHC will also help the workers to settle for better wages whereby they can fully depend on. Fair working conditions such as retirement benefits as well as safety and health coverage, ill health or old age as well as funeral expenses are achieved only through Trade Unions. The Trade Unions in NEHC will also enable the workers in
Trade Unions in NECH will set to creating a peaceful and conducive working environment by ensuring that a good relationship exists between the workers and the employers. This leads to existence of free interaction and expression of views as well as ideas among the workers and the employers, something that contributes to increased working spirit and desire to attain the company’s set goals.
However, having Trade Unions in NEHC will make it very hard for an employee to negotiate for his/her working condition on his/her own such as salary increment benefit including retirement benefit and over time hour’s payments. This is due to the fact that, all these roles of ensuring better working conditions will be carried by the Trade Union, which will be more, recognized by the employer.
Trade Unions availability in NEHC may also result to frequent strikes for example in a case whereby the workers demand for very huge increment of salaries, which the company is unable to meet. This may paralyze the company since output definitely drops and only losses are accounted for.
Another disadvantage of Trade Union in NEHC is that there may happen to be a weak relationship between the workers and the employer. This can happen if the Trade Union negotiators are unfaithful and receive bribes from the employer at the expense of the workers. Workers in this situation continue to suffer from harsh working conditions and this diminishes their working morale which in turn contributes to poor work performance resulting to poor yields (David, 1996p.21-34).
In addition, the petty regulations that are formulated by the Trade Unions and that one is liable to adhere to may bring a lot of coalitions among the entire community of NEHC. These coalitions lead to disharnomony and create tension, which can result to poor performance since commitment into work will be compromised.
Existence of Trade Unions in NECH will also lead to fewer chances of leaning and advancing in other areas since Trade Unions dictate that since a job awarded to a person, he/she is expected to remain in it for not less than one year.
North East Health Care manufacturers of medical gas equipment like many organizations seem to want to maintain that control over workers. The control that two centuries ago so much gripped employers to the extent that asking questions was considered a vice and would often cause an employee to face the sack.
The role of trade unions in the work place was epitomized by the drastic changes which with the advent of trade unions began to be experienced as early as 1880s there was a couple of trade unions in the US alone. Although many of these were purposely political in ideology, the role they played in liberating employees from the oppression of employee cannot be underrated. As () noted the formation of trade unions was an agent of change to the work place in US which had been in a deplorable state. This report particularly discusses the human resource management policies and practices for NEHC and particularly evaluates the current situation with the aim of offering sound advice to the management of the company.
It is hoped that the recommendations arising out of the critical review of the state of attains as well as the highlighting of practices within the company which are intolerable, unjust and misplaced in the context of the 21st century will go along way in helping the management to effect changes into their HRM policies (Webb, Sidney, Webb, & Beatrice 1920p.90-98). All the above is one with the belief that NEHC is a viable company which has positively contributed to the development of the local community in a number of ways including supplying jobs. NEHC has employed over 100 staff most of whom are drawn from the local community. This implies that NERC directly and indirectly supports hundreds of families in terms of basic needs. Indirectly the company supplies medical gas equipment something which leads to a creation of opportunities in terms of distributor network.
Supplying medical equipment
Good health is a basic need and therefore the fact that the company deals with production of a commodity so vital in the health sector is a pointer that NEHC is pivotal in the health sector. In this regard, all measures should be taken to ensure that the company continues to offer its services to the public.
In view of the above the company in order to streamline its activities in regard to its most important resources human beings has taken a step in the right direction first by employing a qualified Personnel Manager. It is hoped that the officer will guide and advice the entire management board into streamlining its leadership management style to most important allow more of its employees to register with trade unions. The current state of affairs whereby the company out of 100 employees has only 3 union employees is worrying and a cause for worry. These reports seek to investigate and report on the advantages and disadvantages of trade unions for NEHC. First of all the tone set by one of the managers who view NEHC as a company which can best be managed in an Unitarian style is misguided and calls for corrective measures. The management by holding that view treats employees as people who are ‘there to be seen, not to be heard’. This attitude is what (Blandine, 1995) referred to as autocratic style of leadership and it comes with its problems which will not be discussed now.
Trade laws provides for the freedom of employees to join trade unions and the same is echoed by the UN charter on human rights (David, & Alan, 1995p.50-45). The fact that the company has finally yielded into publishing a book on key employer-employee policies is a plan for the company and something worth praise although a lot is still undone. Role of trade unions in facilitating communication has been given different definitions such as the process of verbally or non-verbally passing messages to and from two people or parties which entails encoding and decoding (David, 1996p.21-34).
Trade unions facilitate communication in that leaders of trade unions are empowered by law to communicate and seek audience with the management in an almost equal basis (Lockwood, 2005p.61-66). This implies that while a normal employee will be required to undergo some long process before communicating to the management. A shop steward or a union leader can summon or call for meetings with the management without having to undergo vigorous or real tape policies. This is crucial to organizations in that it leads to quicker communication something that is essential in conflict resolution (Tillman, & Cummings, 1999p 362-298).
A few happenings at NEHC have pointed to a gap in communication. For instance the fact that the staffs at the switch board of the company are not well acquainted with care products of the company is a problem which can be traced down to lack of employee training and development. In a company run in the style of NEHC this is not unexpected. Perhaps if there was a strong union membership the employees would have agitated for career development and advancement programs and this problem would have been resolved. Evidently there exists a total communication barrier as well as breakdown. The fact that key events at the company seemingly catch staff unawares shows that there is no empowerment. Again they just see things happening. This is not right! The availability of a trade union would have corrected the situation in that more prominence would be given to collective bargaining as well as employee participation.
Although it is not possible and feasible to everyone single employee it’s only a matter of time before the company starts feeling the impact of these in terms of profits. Although so far the management is comfortable with the company’s profitability, a slight change in competitor activity can send the company packing. In the even that another company shows up chances are that if a price war or another competition of some sort started, employees would very likely take any job offer from the competitor and therefore greatly harm operations at NEHC. It is a fact the management at NEHC does not value its employees even those who have worked for long and therefore deserve to be treated as a key resource of the company.
Role of trade unions is presentation of work place, violence and harassment
Trade unions would come in handy to solve the problem. Lack of trade unions for employees in the company has led to many suffering violence and other forms of injustice. The figures for employee turn-over are alarmingly high and therefore a need to resolve the crisis. The fact that 49% of the employee work force have left the company alone the problem is real and needs to be rectified to participate in the decision making process, with the presence of a trade union, staff would be represented by one of their own truly elected and who would strictly represent their felt needs.
Trade unions facilitate bottoms up communication as well as horizontal communication and then absence curtails the same. Improved communication would go along way in solving a myriad of problems facing the organization namely high staff turnover, low morale amongst workers, as well as low productivity which results into minimal profits for the company. Looking at the way the change over to PRP (Performance Pay Scheme) was handled, clearly the need for better communication is even more evident (David, & Alan, 1995p.50-45). The response to the scheme shows now apprehensive the start had become to change. It implies how lack of representation of workers erodes mutual trust in an organization and creates room for suspicion uncertainty and low morale. Evidently communication must be decoded in the case of NEHC employees they do see or come with the letters but what is reported or contained in the letters is an imposition not negotiated not deliberated and always a cause for further heightening tensions.
The ‘them-us’ syndrome currently dominating employee relations at NEHC is truly an indicator of the gap so huge that it will take the intervention of only trade unions to close. It is
Advice for company policy on HR. There is a need for the management to show commitment to the ideals of the employer-employee relations specifically the management at NEHC should hire consultants to chart the way forward and advice on policies relevant and appropriate in line with the ILO requirements. Possible benefits of such a move would include maximization of profits as well as higher productivity and therefore output (Henkin, 1981).
Secondly the company needs to call an urgent general meeting with staff to brainstorm on issues affecting employees as well as come up with solutions to current bottleneck impeding the implementation of the policies designed by the management.
Thirdly, the company has taken the right step in terms of PRP schemes. However there is a need for the company to empower the employees to take advantage of the scheme. The fact that the management keeps on backtracking on the specification of the program makes the scheme unattractive and therefore it fails to achieve its target.
Generally, Trade Unions are the backbone of any good working conditions that are available in any organization. It is only through Trade Unions that workers are able to ex-press their needs in any workplace. Through the Trade Unions also the employers or managers are able to pass their expectations of the workers and this way a clear communication is cultivated between the workers and the employers.
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