Business Management and Trade Unions Relationship


A trade union is an effective organized body of employees of the same trade or similar occupations purposely to achieve better working conditions for its members. While the primary aim of every business management is to maximize profit. The relationship between these two has always been sour. Aggressive managers tend to face stronger unions that are determined to defend the rights of their members (Raymond, p. 313).

Trade unions were formed to balance the power between employers and employees. The major problem between trade unions and business management is based on low trust from the former and poor management competence from the latter respectively (Pardey, p. 12).

Before the formation of trade unions, employees experienced autocratic management in many business organizations and the rise of trade unions has presented a challenge for many managers (Raymond, p. 315).

Advantages and disadvantages of trade unions activities in business

Advantages of Trade Unions (Pardey, p. 78):

  • Negotiations: Trade unions engage in negotiations with employers to reach beneficial agreements on behalf of co-workers. Trade unions leaders express reasons to support their requests which may range from economic problems to prices of goods and services.
  • The threat of strike: The inability of the two parties to reach an agreement during collective negotiations, may cause the trade union leaders to avoid work through an ultimatum given to the employer(s).
  • Finance: The ability of trade unions executives to convince the employers beyond reasonable doubt enables an improvement in the financial status of the workers as the experienced salary or wage increment.
  • Strike Proper: Failure of the employers to meet up with the demands of the trade union after the ultimatum is served leads to a strike action until the dispute is resolved.

Disadvantages of Trade Unions

  • Leadership: Weak or bad leadership is a major problem of trade unions. The election of officers or trade union leaders with low educational backgrounds, political or religious sentiments is a problem confronting Trade Unions.
  • Weak participation: Some members of trade unions are apathetic concerning active participation in union affairs. The weak participation by members also weakens trade unions because such members don’t contribute to their initiatives.
  • Government: Interference by the government makes some trade union officers government stooges. Certain governments legislate or decree against strike actions thereby rendering such trade unions useless or impotent.
  • Organizational problem: The involvement of trade union leaders in corrupt practices or abuse of power leads to an organizational problem within the union thus crippling the activities of the Unions.

Having a trade union organization in a business

While considering the monetary aspect of a business, it is also important to have a trade union organization. Trade unions have changed with time and this is so because many employees or union representatives obtain a management qualification from the institute of leadership and management which enables them to understand how employers operate. (Raymond, 210)

This has brought improvement with both parties understanding the dividends and benefits of coping with each other. It has also improved discussion between management and trade unions. This is a welcome development.

The ability of both parties to recognize that their interests are mutually compatible has helped in improving the quality of services and also preserved jobs.


It is worthy of note that good management enhances effective and diligent trade unions. (Pardey, 28)

Works Cited

  1. Pardey, David.The changing relationship between trade unions and management”: 2010.
  2. Raymond, Jude. “Business organizations and managements”: Oxford: Oxford University press. 2006. Print.
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