The basic and foremost reason the unions came into existence is to protect the rights and prevent the exploitation of workers who are also members of these unions with a return of some nominal monthly fee.
The two main unions in UK are as follows,
- Unite The Union
- Unison-the public service union
These Unions have offices situated near the regions where the workers live and work in large numbers so each member gets the best and the most convenient representation in the local and national community (Unitetheunion.org, 2014). The scope of these unions such as “Unite the Union” has expanded at the International level. It is mainly due to the global presence of multinationals (Unitetheunion.org, 2014). Similarly, Unison is one of the largest public sector union with 1.3 members and has an international presence (Unison.org.uk, 2014).
Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) Case Study in the Hotel and Catering Industry
This case study hugely pertains to the Hotel and Catering industry. The study includes hotels that were hiring migrators from different countries and had developed practices that clearly reflected race discrimination in terms of low wages, poor or no benefits and substandard working conditions. It worked out very well because for the hotels because the workers were getting very low wages, and these employees were dedicated. The policy of employers at hotels also maintained an ample supply chain of worker due to word of mouth and relatively very cheap advertisement on the Internet. On October 2007, ACAS Commissioned Working Lives Research Institute (WLRI) to conduct a small exploratory study on the employers and the migrants that were employed in those hotels in the UK. There were three phases to the study. In the first phase, the literature on labor law was studies. The second phase the internet was used as a tool to find about the labor policies of the hospitality companies. In the third phase, the managers of the employing companies were interviews. This Research and the previous research conducted by WLRI became the part of a bigger picture that was used to analyze the situation by ACAS. Over a period six case studies were selected that fitted with ACAS model. The aim was to take interviews from employees and their concerning managers. Interviewing from ACAS officials were also done. The reports were as follows.
“Wright and Pollert (2006) in their study published by ACAS found that the National Minimum Wage was commonly paid to basic grade staff and that long working hours were a feature of employment in the hospitality sector. There were poor perceptions of job security, an increasing use of casual and agency staff and limited training, although, in relation to the hotel side of the sector, there was some recognition of the neglect of training in the past and staff were being offered the chance to pursue NVQs.” (McKay, 2009)
Some hotels were found to have unions that were contacted and worked with ACAS to make things better. There were also steps taken at institutional level with the help of company managerial staff to modify the employment policies through understanding and mutual trust. The main aim of these studies and the efforts were to bring change by building awareness and understanding among employees and employers for the common good. ACAS effectively solved the main problems at the micro level before these problems become out of control for much of the industry that were involved in this case by taking actions that were feasible for both employees, employers and in general for the society and the economy. (McKay, 2009)
Unitetheunion.org, (2014). Welcome to Unite the union – Britain and Ireland’s biggest union. [online] Available at: http://www.unitetheunion.org/ [Accessed 18 Jun. 2014].
Unitetheunion.org, (2014). International information for members outside the UK. [online] Available at: http://www.unitetheunion.org/unite-at-work/international/ [Accessed 18 Jun. 2014].
Unison.org.uk, (2014). UNISON | About. [online] Available at: https://www.unison.org.uk/about/ [Accessed 18 Jun. 2014].
McKay, D. (2009). Employer use of migrant labour – motivations, experiences and HR responses. 1st ed. [ebook] WorkingLives Research Institute, p.73. Available at: http://www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/g/a/0309_Employer_use_of_migrant_labour.pdf [Accessed 18 Jun. 2014].