Organisations and unions
A UNISON case study

Page 0: Introduction

Over the past two centuries, the role and influence of trade unions and their relationship with government and employers have greatly changed. The trade union movement grew to protect the rights of workers, and particularly those who were exploited by unscrupulous employers. Today, many unions see themselves as working in partnership with government, employers and workers towards common goals...
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Page 1: UNISON

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Formed in 1993 when three public sector unions joined together, UNISON is the UK's largest union. The merger created a stronger union voice to work collectively to preserve employees' rights for union members, including the right to belong to a trade union. UNISON has nearly 1.3 million members working in public services Over two thirds are women.  Members work in several different industries...
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Page 2: Rights in the workplace

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Employees have two kinds of legal rights in their employment. Many rights come from Acts of Parliament. These are known as statutory rights, for example, Working Time Regulations provide the right to 4 weeks paid holiday. Other rights are laid down in the contract of employment issued by the employer. In UNISON, many employees work in organisations such as local authorities, National Health...
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Page 3: Safeguarding employees´ rights

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UNISON is involved in negotiating the best possible working conditions for its members and for workers in general. Sometimes trade unions will work together to negotiate with management on behalf of a whole category of workers within an organisation. This is known as collective bargaining. Collective bargaining gives a great deal of power to the unions involved because they are seen to be in...
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Page 4: Union power

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UNISON prefers to resolve disputes between employees and their employer by negotiation. It is only when all negotiations have failed and the membership has been consulted through a vote or ballot th at the union takes action to settle a dispute. The union will adopt different tactics to place maximum pressure on the employer to compromise. As with all other unions, UNISON believes it is...
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Page 5: Partnership

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UNISON believes that, in the long term, good employer/employee industrial relations are built on partnership between management and employees. When employees are actively involved in decision-making and problem-solving, productivity increases. That benefits everyone. In 'high performance workplaces' there are high levels of trust, a participative management style, and opportunities for...
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Page 6: Conclusion

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UNISON is a large, influential union that provides expertise and support for its members. It is through partnership that unions see their role developing; providing pathways for the employer and the employee to work collaboratively, to develop new ways of working, to improve productivity and to increase the skills base of all employees for the good of the country as a whole.
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