Definition An association organised for the purpose of promoting and protecting the rights of workers/members (Phillip 1987). Any organization whose membership consists of workers and which seek to represent their interests both in the workplace and in society, and in particular seeks to regulate the employment relationship through collective bargaining with management (Salamon 2000).
Purpose and functions • Purpose: to protect and represent employees, provide them with collective power, support and regulate their terms of employment. • Functions: Collective bargaining – to determine conditions of employment Safeguarding jobs – keeping members in their jobs and protecting these jobs
Cooperation with management- in order for unions to work they must cooperate with management Political activities – unions act as pressure groups particularly for the reform of legislation Provision of friendly services – some unions provide financial assistance for sickness, unemployment, retirement and debt.
Types of Union • Craft – to represent skilled workers Entry is controlled by setting standards to qualify. e.g. musicians • Industrial – to represent members of one particular industry, e.g. oil field workers • General/blanket - unions which recruit workers from all types of industries and with any level of range of skills e.g ATLU, ABWU. • Staff union/white collar union – recruits from non-manual occupations e.g ABPSA, Teachers Union.