Introduction To Trade Union
According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO) there are around 535,500 employees on the Mauritian labour market in the first quarter of 2012. These workers are the human resource of our country and they deserved to be treated as valuable asset. However, in our lucrative oriented era, where the pursuit of profit triumph over the human rights and freedom of these workers. Hundreds of workers have no say in their working conditions; many are helpless in front of the managerial level, others are intimidated, or dismissed when their basic objective is to prone the human rights of freedom of association, collective bargaining and industrial democracy.
On this basis, it has been none a coincidence to perceive the rise of trade union movements and understood that these movements had been on a perpetual alert and are continually fighting for their members to make the human right prevail before profits. The history of Trade Unions is a history of struggles for greater social justice and against tyranny, both in societies and at the workplace. The need for Trade Union in our country begun with the Industrial Revolution, where the rise of factories and the deskilling of labour led to workers seeking security through collective bargaining agreements. Trade Unions in Mauritius operate within the framework of the Industrial Relation Act 1973 (IRA).
Of course, these trade unions around the country have the same purpose and objectives which is the welfare of the workers. Haniff Peerun the president of MLC confederation told us that:
“Mauritius Labour Congress being a Confederation always sees to it that all labour laws are respected and that all workers’ rights are respected”. On the same basis, Mr X leader of the National Trade Union Congress told us that; the role of his organisation is to “help promote and protect the rights of workers in the country”.
Trade unions give employees a number of important privileges that they would not otherwise possess as individuals. This is the reason why trade unions need to safeguard that their determinations to defend their labours match the efforts of managers looking to destabilise the employees. In addition, psychological contract and employers- employees’ relationship is also taken into consideration, by helping in the flow of communication as well as renegotiation through collective bargaining.
1.2 Aims and objectives
This investigation will focus on the role and responsibilities of Trade Union movements in our country and the extent to which they are efficient and effective in both the public and private sector.
The four specific objectives of this study are:
Evaluate the perception of usefulness of trade unions as well as its accessibility in private sector as well as public sector.
Assessing the employees’ intention to rely on Trade Unions and measure the gauge of satisfaction in a Union’s member perspective
Investigate the methods used by the Trade Union movement to negotiate better working conditions, for negotiation, leadership and securing economic benefits.
Finding out how the Trade Union deal with certain crisis that arises in the workplace and the concrete involvement of the Trade Unions for their members
1.3 Background of study
Mauritian development promises to promote standards of living for its population by bringing about a greater productivity through the diffusion of technological innovation as well as updated methods in exploiting equipment and the human resources, superior specialization, enhanced access to credit and capital as well as cheaper goods and services.
At the same time, policies, laws and acts were amended for the welfare of the citizen, for instance the Industrial Relation Act 1973 or employment rights act 2008. However with the sole vision of making the country a world- wise competitive one, little importance is given to the concrete implementation of those laws on a daily basis. On that basis, Trade Union movements were launched in Mauritius, so as to voice out the workers’ rights.
The chief target of the project is to identify the effectiveness of the roles and responsibilities of trade unions in our Mauritian system. It briefly examines the evolution of these movements in the country, by going back on their very start. In addition, a highlight of the intervention of the Trade Unions in our various sectors and how their concrete actions contribute to their members. The document will also enlighten the functions and importance of trade union in the Mauritian context as well as providing reasons to enrol as a Trade Union member. Analyzing the different challenges face by the Trade Unions such as the recent PRB issue, Labour laws, decent work, living condition among others, in the point of view of the trade unions, federation and confederation.Comparing the old managerial style to the new one, the paper will also bring emphasis on why the popularity of Trade Union has diminished. An overview of the future role of trade union will be discussed in order to see if these movements will resist the major changes of globalization as well as financial crisis.
As a group of students, we implemented a top-down, quantitative approach to our research, which allowed us to analyse the various roles of trade unions in Mauritius, as this was considered the most appropriate method for studying the topic; we evaluated the hierarchy of trade union; Confederation, federation and finally Trade Unions. We identified the Mauritius Labour Congress as the main Confederation, the National Trade Union Congress and the Mauritius trade Union labour as federation and various other trade unions which are affiliated to the federation. Adhering to the concept of interviews and surveys, our observations were pooled to provide a broader and more precise representation than that provided by a sole investigation technique.
Chapter 2: Roles and Responsibilities of Trade Union
2.1 Definition of Trade Union
Trade Union is defined in the Employment Relations Act 2008 as
“an association of persons, whether registered or not, having as one of its objects the regulation of employment relations between workers and employers”
The Trade Union or Labour Union movement is a continuous and voluntary association whose membership comprises of salary earners, employees and union leaders. Those members have bonded together motivated by a simple motto “Unity makes strength”. Workers will therefore utilise trade unions as their representative voice when dealing with employers or on the board of directions.
Independently, the workers do not bear the power to defy the top management. Therefore they grouped and seek to institute their terms and conditions of employments. When they realised that negotiating as an individual, the manager would be more powerful, due to the fact that an individual would not matter as much a group in regard of running an organisation.
According to Cunnison, “Trade Union is a monopolistic combination of wage earners who stand to the employers in a relation of dependence for the sale of their labour and even for the production, and that the general purpose of the association in view of that dependence is to strengthen their power to bargain with the employers”
The main role of trade union is to ensure the welfare of its members such as safeguarding the interests of its members, protecting the reliability of its trade, achieving higher wages by securing economic benefits. It also optimises the working conditions at the workplace and guarantees a job security while protecting members against unfair dismissal at workplace.
Through its leadership, trade union engages in collective bargaining, whereby labour contracts are negotiated with the employers. Also it acts as a recruiting manager, the Union leaders interfere with the recruitment and selection of the company, its intention is to maximise the number of employees an employer can hire.
2.2 Hierarchy of Trade Unions
There is a hierarchy in Unions, we had identified; the confederation, the federations and the trade unions. Regarding the confederation, there are one main which is Mauritius Labour Congress and it is affiliated to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU).In the category of federation there are; National Trade Union Confederation (NTUC) which is affiliated with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the Mauritius Trade Union Congress (MTUC). Finally, the trade unions which are affiliated to the NTUC; The Federation of Civil Service Unions, Federation of Progressive Unions, Federation des Travailleurs Unis, Confederation Mauriciennes des Travailleurs, General Workers Federation and Federation of Free Workers.
Confederation: The Mauritius Labour Congress
The MLC is the largest registered and recognized central organization of workers in the country. It was created in 1963 from a merger of the Mauritius Trade Union Congress and the Mauritius Confederation of Free Trade Unions. It represents over 45,000 members through its 56 affiliates, which directly and indirectly covers 125 individual trade unions. The MLC was the unique national confederation affiliated with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) representing workers from practically all sectors such as Sugar Industry, Civil/Public Service, Para-statal Bodies, Aviation, Docks, Banking, Insurance, Tea, Transport, Hotel and Tourism, EPZ, Local Authorities and the private sector.
We had an interview with Mr Haniff Peerun, the president of the confederation who told us that the vision of the organisation was to defend the rights of workers on the labour market. According to him, the aim and objectives of his trade union were:
Adequate salary compensation to be paid to workers
Make proposal to the government on budget
To train the trade union members and affiliates
To raise their voice whenever the rights of workers and consumers are at stake.
Federation: The National Trade Union Confederation
The National Trade Unions Confederation (NTUC) is a national trade union center in Mauritius and is affiliated with the Confederation. Which have two primary affiliates in the name of Federation of Civil Service Unions, and the Organization of Artisans’ Unity. It is composed of 20 members who represent all categories of workers within the public sector and its members are organised in branches, each branches having an executive committee, consisting of a president, secretary and a treasurer.
The Vision of the confederation which has been identified after an interview with the leader of the organisation came out to be:
To be a respected partner and a reference in trade unionism
To be at the forefront of change, leadership and sound industrial relations.
Moreover, according to him the aim and objectives of the Union are:
“Our main objective is to maintain mobilisation of our members and also organise those whom we represent. We also aim to help to make the public service more responsive to the needs of the people”
: Mauritius Trade Union Congress (MTUC)
The Mauritius Trade Union Congress (MTUC) is a national trade union center in Mauritius affiliated with the International Trade Union Confederation. It was founded by Emmanuel Anquetil in 1946.
It comprises of 29,000 members and is have Mr Dewan Quedou as president.
2.3 Structure of Trade Union
The trade unions structure is divided into several parts, namely:
The Annual Delegates Congress
It is the authority which governs the federation.
The Executive Council
It comprises of one representative of each affiliates which is usually the secretary or the president and the Bureau members and two observers per affiliates. Once every two months they conduct meeting regarding applications for affiliates from trade unions and affiliation of the Federation to any local, regional or international organisation promoting the interest of the workers and to discuss disagreements between different affiliates. Meeting can be scheduled on the demand of the President or the Bureau or of the members of the Executive Council too.
It comprises of the President, the General Secretary and the eight elected members. Among them, one is the 1st Vice president and another is the 2nd vice president, a 3rd as Assistant Treasurer and a fourth one who is the organising secretary.
He represents the Federation and he is the spokesman of the federation.
The General Secretary arranges meetings and draw up the minutes of the meeting. Along with the General Secretary, Deputy General Secretary and the Assistant General make up the Secretariat of Federation.
He is in charge of the accounts of the federation.
He is in charge of organising events like training sessions, seminars, workshop among others.
Public Relation Officer
He deals with the media for conferences, coverage, reports and other information that will be published by the media.
2.4 Nature and Scope of Trade Union
The existence of an influential and recognised trade union is a pre-requisite to the industrial development pace of the country. With modernization in different sectors and the formation of new one such as the technological one as well as the tourism sector, human resources were required.
However, mistreatment of the Mauritian labour force appears. This is where the trade union emerged; they ensured that the human rights of their members are respect as per the laws and the constitution.
Trade Unions are currently considered as a sub-system which attends a precise sub-groups interest. When defending a particular sector they consider themselves as an integral part of the organisation in respect to the feasibility, growth and development of the community of which they formed part of.
The influence of Trade Unions is of key importance for their members in the following ways:
First, they are more effective and efficient when the need of negotiation is required between employers and employees by attempting to create a win-win situation.
They facilitate the flow of communication between workers and the management, by providing the guidance and support to both of them.
The Union leaders will seek a health and safety in the working environment.
In addition, they also act as an educational institution; they provide different types of courses to their members.
They also accelerate the pace of economic development for instance; they act as a recruiting and selecting agent for the unemployed workers, managing conflicts in the organisation, inculcating corporate social responsibilities to the members among others.
2.5 Objectives of trade unions.
The main body of a trade union usually consists of individual workers, sometimes professionals and past workers. Their primary aim is to ensure that the employment conditions of employees are respected and that fair working conditions are offered. However, trade unions also engage in issues like:
One of the main targets of trade unions is to negotiate with employers about the matters affecting their members and other employees at work. If a union is formally recognised by an employer, it can negotiate with the employer over terms and conditions. These negotiations are commonly known as ‘collective bargaining’.
Any trade union works to protect and advance the interests of its members. One of the ways it achieves this is by collectively bargaining with employers about the pay and conditions under which its members work. The negotiation process normally deals with matters such as working rules and regulations, complaint procedures, hiring principle, dismissing or promoting employees, workplace safety and policies etc. Some trade unions even have the power to negotiate rates of pay, bonuses for target achievement, employment conditions and job descriptions on behalf of the employees. For collective bargaining to be effective, unions and employers need to agree on how the arrangement is to operate. The objective of that collective bargaining or negotiation process is to settle with a mutual agreement also known as ‘collective agreement’ between the management and the trade union.
Employees and other workers have the right to be accompanied at a disciplinary or grievance hearing. They can either choose a co-worker or a union representative. Often, the union representative, will be a workplace representative who is also a co-worker and will support the employee on the board meeting.
Information and Advice
If someone forms part of a union he/she can also ask them for advice. Unions are experts at solving problems at work. Trade unions provide staff with information, advice and guidance about any work related problems.
Trade unions provide its members with a variety of services such as training, insurance, financial assistance and legal advices, sickness benefits, education facilities in some cases, guarantee of satisfactory work conditions in areas such as health and safety as well as equal opportunities.
Voice in decision affecting Workers
Trade unions act as a “spokesperson” for the staff. When matters concerning an individual employee or a group of workers arise, the trade unions job is to voice out the problem in order to negotiate for a solution. In case no agreement is settled or respected, the trade union members may enforce strikes or resistance to lockouts. They can also intervene in order to resist schemes of the management which reduce employment, e.g. restructuring and automation
2.6 Types of Trade Union
Craft or Occupation Union.
This type of union was the earliest type developed, it comprised of employees of a particular craft or skill regardless of place of work. The advantage of craft unionism is the sense of solidarity, as there is a feeling of common interest between the members. In addition, as this union bears skilled workers, they have a good economic position for collective bargaining. On the other side, more and more new mechanical devices were being developed, the need for large numbers of skilled workers decreased.
One- Shop Union or House Union
The one-shop union organizes all workers in the same establishment or factory. This type of union has the advantage of being relatively easy to organize because all workers share a common goal in securing a good collective agreement for their particular factory. However, as it is small, it has little bargaining power and it is easily dominated by management.
Common Employer Union.
The common employer union is basically the same except that it organizes across establishments owned by the same employer. It suffers from basically the same disadvantages as a one-shop union.
2.7 Characteristic of Trade Union
Trade unions have shown remarkable progress since their inception in Mauritius and as the union is an essential and dynamic aspect of the society it bears special characteristics such as:
Trade Union come together for common goals and interest
The members have some materials of collective interest such as improving working conditions, better wages, benefits, job security among others. The trade unions have the right to contest a managerial decision, if they considered that their members are at risk with the outcome.
Trade Union is an association of workers and salary earners:
Unions are essentially a cooperative labour marketing association whose aim is to safeguard human rights on one or more labour market. In addition, they also bear a hand in the progress of the society, cultural interest and political views of its members.
Trade unions have been implemented so as each sector of the working class bear a specific union. Mauritius therefore bears different Union association such as:
Agricultural Research & Extension Unit (AREU)
Mauritius Labour Congress (MLC)
Mauritius Trade Union Congress (MTUC)
National Trade Union Confederation (NTUC)
Trade Unions are basically voluntary organizations:
Members of any trade union are voluntary in nature. They are completely free to become a member of a Trade Union or not; none is constrained to subscribe to a Trade Union. If any individual is forced to join a Union, the very essence of trade of trade unionism is defeated.
Unions are egalitarian bodies:
The Unions are self-governed; this is the reason why they can effectively act in our society. The union leaders are voted by the members and perform as per the Trade Union Act.
The Trade Union is a continuous association
Union is not a daily affair. In order to work effectively for their adherents they ask a long term membership
Constant evolution in the characteristic of Trade Union
With this dynamic era, the union continually update their techniques and amend their work. With new complications in the workplace, the unions need to find infinite approaches so as to serve the union members.
Rapport with the Management:
The unions have the responsibility to improve the employers and employees relationship. They go through the process of negotiation and collective bargaining with the direction of the members’ organisation concerning their problems. In so doing, the employer and employee relationship is enriched and enhance the quality and welfare of the employees.
2.8 Functions of Trade Unions
Broadly speaking, trade unions perform two types of functions:
Amongst the various activities performed by trade unions is the betterment of the position of their members in relation to their employment. The aim of such activities is to ensure that all the clauses of the hiring and psychological contract are respected. When the union fails to accomplish these aims through collective bargaining and negotiation, in extreme conditions they adopt drastic measures in the form of go-slow, strike, boycott, work sabotage etc. to make the management react and reconsider their requests. Hence, these functions of the trade unions are known as militant or fighting functions.
Another actions performed by trade unions are to provide help to its members in needy times, and improving their efficiency. Trade unions try to nurture a spirit of cooperation, mutual aid and promote friendly relationships and sharing of knowledge and culture among their colleagues. In some cases, they also arrange for legal assistance. Besides, these, they undertake many welfare measures for their members, e.g., school for the education of children, library, reading-rooms, in-door and out-door games, and other recreational facilities. These activities, which may be called fraternal functions, obviously depend on the availability of funds, which the unions raise by subscription from members and donations from outsiders, and also on their competent and enlightened leadership. Another broad classification of the functions of unions may be as follows:
Intra-mural activities: These deals with whatever happens on the site of work and has direct impact on employees e.g. wages, strikesÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Extra-mural activities: These activities help the employees to maintain and improve their efficiency or productivity e.g., methods intended to foster a spirit of cooperation, promote friendly relationsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Political activities: Modern trade unions also take up political activities to achieve their objectives. Such activities may be related to the formation of a political party or those reflecting an attempt to seek influence on public policy relating to matters connected with the interests of working class
Trade unions have a number of functions, one more important than the other depending on the situations; however the five main general principles developed have been:
The service function
The representative function
The regulatory function
The government function
The public administration function
The service function
This involves the delivery of services and assistance to the union members.
The representative function
This implies that the trade union will act like a delegate for the members at the workplace.
The regulatory function
This enables trade unions to actively participate in rule-making over the workplace. This can be done either:
directly – multi-employer collective bargaining e.g. through the Joint Industrial Council
indirectly – through regulatory legislation
The government and public administration function
Trade unions engage with the government to assure that they can accomplish their respective function within the law.
Trade unions also play an important role in:
improving bottom-up communication in order to increase commitment of employees in meeting the organization’s objectives
negotiating improvements to pay and working conditions to retain the people
encouraging companies to invest in training and development for better performance and personal as well as professional development of employees
acting as a positive change agent thus gaining employees’ support for the smooth running of the organization
Protecting the interests of employees by taking active participation in the management.
safeguarding organizational stability, growth, and leadership
Chapter 3: Trade Union at Work
3.1 Need for trade Union
Trade Unions contribute much in the industrial peace; they are required for different purpose such as effective communication between employees and employers as they are the mediator between them. They also make sure that the divergence of opinions is taken into consideration and of course do not turn out into conflicts. They also bear a great responsibility in safeguarding the interests of their members. They are the protector, the counseling, the mediator, coach, and keep an eye on the environment in which their members evolves every day seeking a healthy and safe working place.
Reasons why Trade Union is useful at work:
Trade unions aid to enhance the pace of economic growth in many ways;
through the recruitment and selection of workers
instructing discipline among the workforce
Trying to inculcate the organisation culture of the organisation to the new employee
settling industrial clashes in a rational manner
helping in social adjustments: new working conditions, abiding to new rules and policies
Trade unions are a portion of society and are concern with the national integration:
Encouraging and preserving national integration through the minimization of industrial conflicts.
Incorporating a sense of corporate social responsibility in workers
Attaining industrial peace
To ensure job security and right pay for the members:
One of the main reasons why the employee decides to join a union is principally for security, especially in the private sector where people are unsure of their job position.
Employees’ desire to get paid according to their qualifications and skills.
To express the complaints of employees to the managerial level:
Though some employees do have grievance again the employers, they do not convey their thoughts as they fear of getting dismissed
Employees do not like to be subjected to arbitrary and capricious actions by management.
When difficult situation happens, employees may notice that they have little or no influence in job-related matters, thus becoming prime targets for unionization
Facilitate the flow of communication between employers and employees
Enhance the employer and employee relations
Facilitate decisions making through the process of collective bargaining and negotiations
3.2 Reason for joining a Trade Union
Individuals in various sectors of Mauritius choose to join a union in order to protect by the laws and regulations which abide the union. They might have different reasons joining and these reasons will tend to change over time. At the start of one’s career, the main reason is for job security and working conditions, and when having experience it is for a better salary or benefits. Remember that independently, the workers do not bear the power to defy the top management. Therefore they grouped in order to make Unity stand still in front of managers. Other reasons can involve dissatisfaction with management, need for a social outlet, opportunity for leadership, forced unionization and peer pressure.
Other important reasons for joining trade union:
Greater Bargaining Power: As said before, when trying to bargain alone, the employee will not make the difference but if the whole organisation voices out it will me more tangible; a Strike by a union is a powerful tool that often causes the employer to accept the demands of the workers for better conditions of employment.
Minimize Discrimination in decisions concerning wages, working conditions, promotion among others. There might be favouritisms if the manager appreciates more one employee than another. Discrimination can arise in term of racism, culture, religion, gender, origins and names.
Sense of Security: employees join unions so as to have adequate security in term of accidents, injury, illness, unemployment, but also obtaining; retirement benefits and compelling the management to invest in welfare services for the benefit of the workers.
Sense of Participation: so as to be involved in the decision- making of the organisation and influence the results through collective bargaining.
Sense of Belongingness: some join because their co-mates are members others under group pressure. This may be an aspect of respect for those who are not members.
Platform for self-expression: the workers want to be taken into consideration by the managerial level. Thus Trade unions provide such a forum to convey feelings, ideas, complaints and opinions.
Betterment of relationships; workers believe that unions can satisfy the main need for suitable equipment for proper maintenance of employer-employee relations. Unions help in betterment of industrial relations among management and workers by solving the problems peacefully.
3.3 Pros and Cons of Trade Union
Advantages of Trade Union
Trade Union can increase the salary of its members as well as benefit through negotiation.
Represent the workers in front of the employers and society
Protect against exploitation
Uphold health and safety legislation
Trades unions can give representation to workers facing legal action.
Can voice out for better working conditions
Ask for training, learning and development of knowledge, skills and abilities
Build the employee and employer relationship
it organize social , recreational and culture activities among the members
Trade Unions provide members with the opportunity to access the benefits of collective bargaining
Trade Unions shield workers from exploitation and victimization by management
Disadvantages of Trade Union
Might create Unemployment if asking too high expectation for their members.
Ignore the plight of those excluded from the labour markets, e.g. the unemployed.
On a strike, the productivity of a company might diminish or they can also lose their clients which lead to an irreversible situation and the business might close down.
Collective bargaining by Trade Unions can sometimes lump all workers, both productive and unproductive, in the same space thereby inhibiting hard-working individuals from being rewarded appropriately.
By nature of Trade Union involvement or participation workers tend to become more critical and conscious of management methods and activities.
3.4 Challenges faced by Trade Unions
A serious problem that trade unions have had to tackle with recently was the case whereby an employee was tragically killed by an ox at the Mauritius Meat Authority. This issue raised many concerns about the conditions in which the employees were working and the involvement of trade unions before the incident happened.
Another challenge faced by trade unions is about the current Pay Research Bureau report which raised many critiques about the decisions that were taken concerning the compensations given to workers. Many Trade unionists claimed that some of their propositions were rejected and that the gap between the different existing social classes was getting more significant. The different trade unions were to negotiate about it on behalf of the low-wages employees.
According to our studies, it has also been found that there exists a relatively large gap between unionisation in public and private sectors. And more importantly, this degree of unionisation is proportional to the size of the industry, and it seems to vary from industries to industries.
Limited national membership
Although the number of trade unions in Mauritius has increased consequently, the number of membership have not risen that much, mainly in the private sector. Only 12% of workers have been found to be unionised. A way to increase this rate would be to try a labour market penetration in sectors like textile, ICTÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Multiplicity of unions – affiliated and non-affiliated unions
Since there is no specific restriction that regulates the number of trade unions and as a result, employees tend to form separate unions in the same establishment. This automatically leads to union rivalry that cuts at main root of the movement. The power of collective bargaining and negotiation is weakened, and might result in loss of credibility in fort of the management.
Many federation presidents have argued that the effectiveness of trade union is made difficult by the retrograde and imperious management style that prevails in Mauritius. This could also be figured out as a reason for the low unionisation rate.
Finance is a somewhat important problem in many organisations as the average yearly income of Trade Unions is low and insufficient. As a result, not much can be invested in creating welfare programmes for the employees.
Indifferent attitude of workers
Although we are in 2012, it has been found that many employees are still unconcerned about why to join a Trade at the workplace. Moreover, if they are already unionised, the adherents do not show great interest in their unions and as a result, the number of members present at meetings remains low. Hence, under such conditions, the trade union cannot expect immense progress.
3.5 Methods used to overcome these difficulties
One way to avoid such situations from occurring would be to establish a constant monitoring of the environment in which the workers are evolving as well as pressurise the management to provide security equipment and adequate training to enable workers safety and awareness of the danger of their work.
Concerning the PRB report 2012, negotiation and collective bargaining should have been the core tactic in negotiating for better employee compensation. Furthermore, it was found that this report was giving excessive compensations to functionaries while operational employees were having the minimal. A solution would be to strike the balance and give a satisfactory augmentation to low class workers as well.
Encouraging private sector workers to join in unions would be a good initiative. This could be done by briefing them about their rights as a worker as well as the advantages associated with being unionised.
A suggestion would be to implement a one-industry-one-union policy, whereby only one union in the organisation will represent the workers and fight for their rights.
A way of coping with the autocratic management would be to play the watchdog and ensure that the law, procedures and institutional mechanisms that protect the workers’ rights are in line with International Labour Organisation (ILO), and continually being prepared to face any sort of workers’ exploitation from the management.
3.6 Public Sector versus Private Sector
3.7 Employee Satisfaction with trade Union
During the course of our research, employee survey satisfaction questionnaires were circulated in order to allow for the collection and analysis of data concerning the employees point of view about how they perceived trade unions, whether they were unionised or not as well as their personal opinion. The survey was strictly anonymous and was carried out on [number of employees] employees at [place where the survey was carried out].
After a meticulous analysis of the primary data collected, and the summing up of the different responses, we were able to deduce that:
80% of the employees in the public sector and less than 20% from the private sector were unionised.
Almost all the employees were in favour of their trade union whereby they claimed that their working conditions were better off; that the unions did fight for their benefits and that it has proved to be effective. For example, most of the employee of the NTUC agreed to the fact that the trade union is an organisation that strengthen the workers and help them to protect and represent their rights at work. Moreover internal democracy prevails in the trade unions. That internal democracy and greater membership control make unions stronger and better able to fight for the rights and interests of working people.
They also show solidarity with the workers as they may represent their cases irrespective of their member affiliation. Through our survey we found out that all employees agreed on the statement that the members elected at the head of the NTUC is done through a vote in a most objectively possible manner and through transparency as a secret ballot is involved.
The competency of the union members somehow showed some discrepancy in the way the employees responded as most preferred to take a “neutral” position about this. We arrive at the conclusion that the divergence of opinions might have arisen from the voting process or political issues.
Through our research we also notice that some workers were reticent to answer some questions like whether or not meeting between trade union members and management of organisation was effective enough to solve problems related to employees at the workplace the indeed. They preferred to adopt a neutral stance. Their answers were similar when they were asked if workers irrespective of their trade union affiliation get equal opportunities at the workplace. As the NTUC is a trade union that works for the public sector we may argue that there might be much political interference and thus employees that have fill in our questionnaire preferred to give a neutral answer.
Chapter 4: Methodology and Findings
In our Trade Union study, both primary and secondary sources of information was utilised. For the primary source of data we selected the qualitative methods, it has been chosen for both the relevance of this method to the research questions and the theoretical principles that underlie this approach. We collected primary data through different methods, both sample survey and interview with leaders and employees of trade union as well as members of trade unions which work both in private and public sector. A total of fifteen individuals were involved, with the dual purpose of assessing their views and interpretations on the union movement and of being aided in determining a comprehensive and pertinent framework for the design of the data collection strategy.
Qualitative Methods used as major source of primary data:
The employee sample survey (APPENDIX 1) carried out with two employees of the National trade Union congress
A face-to-face interview (APPENDIX 2) with the leaders of the Mauritius Labour congress (confederation), the National Labour Trade Union (federation) as well as the Nursery Trade Union leader (Trade Union)
Employee Sample questionnaire (APPENDIX 3) which was carried out with 5 person from the private sector and 5 of the public sector
We conducted the employee sample survey (APPENDIX 1) with employees of the National trade Union congress and we found out that all of them are members of the trade union and form part of the staff association. As one of the major role of a trade union is to negotiate and ensure that employee are being treated fairly and fight for their rights.
In addition, we learned that there were a meeting twice yearly, gathering leaders and members of different affiliated trade unions in order to discuss issues they might have and to help them find solutions. Decisions taken through the process of collective bargaining and negotiations between employer and unions are more influential. The trade union plays an important role in making communication between workers and management more easily and fluid. They provide advice and support to ensure that divergence of opinion does not become a reason for major conflicts. The NTUC fights for the benefits of employees and represent them at work.
Most of the employee of the NTUC agreed to the fact that the trade union is an organisation that strengthen the workers and help them to protect and represent their rights at work. Moreover internal democracy prevails in the trade unions. That internal democracy and greater membership control make unions stronger and better able to fight for the rights and interests of working people. They also show solidarity with the workers as they may represent their cases irrespective of their member affiliation. Through our survey we found out that the members elected at the head of the NTUC is done through a vote and it is done as objectively and through transparency as it is done through a secret ballot. Most elected members are competent enough to organise the union activities.
Through our research we also notice that some workers are reticent to answer some questions like whether or not meeting between trade union members and management of organisation was effective enough to solve problems related to employees at the workplace the indeed. They preferred to adopt a neutral stance. Their answers were similar when they were asked if workers irrespective of their trade union affiliation get equal opportunities at the workplace. As the NTUC is a trade union that works for the public sector we may argue that there might be much political interference and thus employees that have fill in our questionnaire preferred to give a neutral answer.