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Suggestion on Establishing Good Union Management Relationship in the Workplace Salmiwati binti Mohamad Jamili (2011248904) Universiti Teknologi Mara
Human Resource Management Assoc Prof Dr. Roshidi Hassan December 24, 2011
SUGGESTION ON ESTABLISHING GOOD UNION RELATIONSHIP Table of Content
Abstract…………………………………………………………………………. Introduction……………………………………………………………………… Changing Union- Management Relations…………………………………… Open Warfare………………………………………………………… Accommodating………………………………………………………………… Partnership……………………………………………………………………… Overcoming Past History to Negotiate New Relationship…………………. High Integrity Relationship……………………………………………………. Role of Managers………………………………………………………………. Dynamic Line Managers………………………………………………………. Workplace Harmonies and Cooperative…………………………………………….. Worker Participation and Employee Involvement…………………………. Communication………………………………………………………………… Training…………………………………………………………………………. Employee’s Satisfaction……………………………………………………….. Reference……………………………………………………………………………….. Appendix………………………………………………………………………………...
3 4 6 6 7 7 9 9 10 11 12 12 13 14 14 19 22
and not as a discipline or activity apart from management. communication and a good leader to coordinate the movement of organization. This paper explores a step in how to establish the relationship between management and union and how management can shape their organization for reaching their goals with support contributed by union. It is not to say the step through this article compulsory to being practice by all industrial life as no one kind of relationship is best and can be fit to all varied circumstances of organization. all good relationship has some common characteristic include trust. Union relations with management should be seen as an essential part of management system and techniques. However. These articles will deal in general terms of ways to achieving and maintaining any kind of good relationship in organization. It also attempts to identify some of the elements which may generally be regarded as features of a good industrial relations system. .SUGGESTION ON ESTABLISHING GOOD UNION RELATIONSHIP Abstract 3 Relationship between union and management has changed together with environment and economical condition from time to time.
allowing them to express the social cohesion. trade union movement in Malaysia considered strong by South Asean standard.SUGGESTION ON ESTABLISHING GOOD UNION RELATIONSHIP Introduction 4 Organizations today are facing an increasingly competitive and rapidly changing environment (Johari.260 in 2002. However it still recorded a decline in figure from 789.2006).003 members. as at June 2011. notably from neoliberal policies and changes structures of employment. refer to study provided by Kumar and Gani (2008). Thus only 6. A voluntary organization like the union is a choice for employee to protect their needs in order to balance with needs of company. (Ivancevich. Johari (2006) indicated that some of the benefits include maximizing wages of their members. According to statistic provided by Department of Trade Union Affairs. Basically the union offers their promise to a number of benefits in order to solicit the member’s commitment. According to Ramasamy (2008). allows them to participate in decision making within the organization for which they work. aspirations and political ideology of their membership. Both management and employee want to protect their interest. Malaysia’s trade union movement is faced with a number of challenges. However. statutory bodies. total labor force of 12.163 in 2003 from 807. establishing a join system which both protect their members from arbitrary management actions. there are 254. Management has to increase their value while employees have to maintain or build up their outcomes in order to survive in the competitive environment. This declined was a result of changes in the environment as follow: Total members who joined unions are 803. the private sector employee unions at Malaysia are made up for 441 trade unions while trade unions for public sector.6 million. local government and employers.3 percent of employees belong to a union out of the . 2010). Labor union can be defined as an organization of employees that uses collective action to advance its members interest in regards to wages and working conditions.
Lu. outsourcing.SUGGESTION ON ESTABLISHING GOOD UNION RELATIONSHIP • 5 Political changes-privatization. free trade. showing that productivity in Malaysia is actually higher in enterprises where the workers are organized in industrial unions than in non-unionized companies. collaborative unionmanagement relationship. Wang (2010) also identified although unions do not directly contribute to positive wage gains for the workers. off shoring. blocked minimum wage legislations.rise of solidarity “new right. political and social environment. decline in public goods and social Bernard (2004). deregulation. and hence more harmonious employment relations in China’s private enterprises. Unions contributed in improving workplace peace and harmony by improving workers discipline. However. weakened collective bargaining and flooded the labor market with foreign workers. The key to a relationship . removed well-established minimum standards. technological change • Social changes. power and influence of multinational corporations (MNCs) coupled with their strong antiunion stance. According to Khan and Khan (2011). since the 1970s. Tao. These have restricted growth and influence of trade unions. Most management in any organization wants a harmonious. work reorganization. It also helps in increasing productivity or efficiency of workers.trade liberalization. they referred to study from Human Rights Watch (1998) quoted a study of International Labor Organization (ILO). they do contribute to better employee benefits. According to Ramasamy (2008). government union busting • Economic changes. increased signing of formal employment contracts. This listed of changes in environment give an impact to employer for acting ‘cold’ to respond for union requisition from employee’s representative. The challenge is in how to foster such relationship in the face of a changing economic. employers also aware that union have been playing role beyond collective bargaining for state and employer.
2003). resistance and industrial warfare. 2000). Changing Union.management relationship in United States on that time is based on heritage of exploitation. and that this situation should not continue. Adversarial Adversarial relationship between union. With the first establishment of permanent labor unions shortly after the Revolution. also the description of partnership relationship that currently being seen as most suitable to adapt in organization of 21st Century. In those days. some of basic history regarding relationship between management and union will be describe. Management actions were driven by anti-unions and action to get rids of union whenever possible (Blackard. most of management did not accept the right of union to exist and often acted not followed the act of law. Open Warfare The history of labor management relationship began in the colonial days where relationship between servant and master which the master had almost complete authority. Labor.Management Relations Relationship between management and union may be difficult sometimes. the strikes become the favorite weapon for attempting to increase the wages and improve job security.SUGGESTION ON ESTABLISHING GOOD UNION RELATIONSHIP 6 building effort is a sincere acknowledgement by both parties that their relationship is difficult or unproductive. Some disagreement can become troublesome to the development of positive work environment (Stanley. However they avoided its overly destructive and public manifestation.management did not different much with warfare era. This relationship normally the management will look first to legal rights and coercive power to resolve issues and continues to maximize its own legal position and power while minimize as possible to other parties which is union (Blackard. Strained management and union relations can be disruptive. In this article. 2000). .
where management committed to improve performance and meet organization objectives by developing employee’s potential. However. Accommodating relationship minimizes the potential negative associated by having a union but it fails to take advantage from the synergy relationship of employee that can be found in union workplace (Valerie & Allen. However it doesn’t reach the goals to finding opportunities to the best relationship but the managers only concentrate on minimizing the negative impact of union. employees and union in establishing effective means of genuine employee voice (Baird. Bacon & Story (2000) finds the motivations for management and unions entering into partnership arrangement are strongly linked to maintaining employee trust in management. Partnership In a modern environment today. 2007).SUGGESTION ON ESTABLISHING GOOD UNION RELATIONSHIP Accommodating 7 Relationship based on accommodation typically can be characterized by good ones. employee voice changes under HCM policies might provide problems for managers. but it always fit somewhere on presented as following: . Objective of partnership for management are improvement in employee relations and facilitation of change programs. Blackard (2000) mentioned the definition of partnership relationship can be elaborate differently by the eyes of beholder. the unproductive conflicts would appear to be archaic and out of date. The example of typical management behavior in an accommodating a relationship is advising the unions of planned changes in advance and bargaining a good faith. 1996).(Yarrington Townsend & Brown. The replacement of traditional IR model with new management strategy such as High Commitment Management Models (HCMM) has been found to represent significant changes in work organization and management of employees.2002).
Heaton. Finally. sustainability of this new way working by addressing both parties to continue for experience benefits which only can be obtainable from participating in partnership (Yarrington et al.an agreed system of joint decision making limited to matters that not cover by collective bargaining. • Environmental partnership. the expectation of each party’s roles and behavior are being established and creating the structure that supports the partnership process. Mason and Morgan (2000) determined the major element that importance in determining the partnership agreements are the importance of line manager’s motivations and the individual factors in management union relations. Management strategy to improve organizations performance such as creating ‘learning organizations’ found genuine union involvement crucial to achieving outcomes (Yarrington et al. The activity to increase the involvement of employee is a central of partnership agreements and requires strong commitment from all levels of management to overcome the difficulties in achieving mutual beneficial outcomes. involving recognition and acceptance of employee interest alongside management’s strategic business needs. • Parallel partnership. A process in achieving the outcomes from partnership agreements involved various step. In the UK. Firstly the preferred outcomes of both parties are being established. 2002). Secondly.an association with partners who joins interest and accountability who share in risk and rewards. Haynes and Allen (2002) stressing the process of identifying benefits and behavior to be expected from each parties as the most crucial in developing the partnership arrangement..a work environment that encourages an open and collaborative relationship. 2007). Good management .SUGGESTION ON ESTABLISHING GOOD UNION RELATIONSHIP • 8 Comprehensive partnership. Other elements that important to mutual beneficial partnership are mutual legitimization of different interest. 2007). collaborative approach for unions is considered integral to partnership and mutual gains strongly dependent on the level of trust in relationship between management and unions (Novitz.
These capacities also require considerable effort. dedication and attitude changes in both parties (Yarrington et al. This will also execute them in the same positive spirit..SUGGESTION ON ESTABLISHING GOOD UNION RELATIONSHIP 9 union relationship in partnership program must be associated with high level of trust. fair treatment must be implementing in the relationship between employer and employee. High Integrity Relationship Every company who agreed to engage a union involvement should discover the common interest from a good relationship with a union. Moore (2000) described four important characteristics of positive working relationship. An accommodating relationship should be avoided. Alan & Painter. 2005). Each party both from management and labor acknowledge their interdependence. the legitimacy and . the relationship must be moving towards a condition of trust. the major framework should being implement is to breaking old habits and applying the knowledge gained from developed dispute resolution techniques. Also in a situation where people are willing to take a risk. The knowledge gain from previous experience can be adapted in everyday practice of industrial relations. Management who give empowerment of trust to the employee. commitment and good communication not automatically can deliver the partnership agreement. Secondly. Thirdly both management and employee should respect the democracy between the parties. each party will look out for needs of each other. The experience and radical change that occurred in a relationship between union and management must be treated as transformative learning experience in the art and practice of industrial relations (Ponak. Finally. Overcoming Past History to Negotiate New Relationship To develop a new relationships between management (stakeholder) and employees. will being rewarded by people will follow through on agreement with a good faith. First characteristic is each parties have to maximize their potential and try to meet their individual needs as possible but he forbid the behavior of make expense from others. 2007).
bear to re-invest in any profitable of future plan to ensure stability of employment to employees.. they will eventually decide you’re on their side. protection and responsibilities of management and the union. and fair with them. reflected once upon dealing with employees with this meaningful speech: “If you’re good to people.2005). 2008). et al. This committee shall schedule their meeting regularly to discussed the union relations issue and adjustment made where necessary ongoing basis. a management who required employees to return a value to the company by improving quality and productivity. 2005). . Role of Managers Sam Walton. While employees also must understand the future of their union is dependent on the delivery of their quality services to the management. Look for things that are going right. A collaborative bargaining session is valuable moment for management to accommodate any possible requisition from union and it will build credibility and trust to management from employees (Ponak. and you demanding for them. These discussions were part of transforming the relationship of managementunions to functional relationship that evolved to better meet each side’s needs. We want to let our folks know when they are doing something outstanding and let them know they are important. As an example. A key element of this process was the implementation of the committee consisting a senior management personnel and union representative. 2003). the successful founder of Wal-Mart. Organizational representatives or managers spend considerable time and expense negotiating with union officials to bring about a labor contract that will allow for efficient operations (Stanley.SUGGESTION ON ESTABLISHING GOOD UNION RELATIONSHIP 10 purposes of the other (Ponak et al..” The fundamental of union agreement specify the rights. (Ramasamy.
When discharging an employee. “the secretariat” and the chief executor of all terms and conditions of the agreement. line managers should being provided by management with significant training in employee relations issues and conflict resolutions. Therefore.al (2007) indicated the most likelihood conflict happen at the workplace as a result of individual arising between direct managers and employees. They are several managerial decisions that will disputes in administering the contract but disciplining employees is probably the most heated issue. They deal everyday with the employees at all levels. A few respondent in Yarrington et. part-judge. The issues will become large dependent on individual line manager’s attitudes. In an occasion. suspension.al (2008)’s research suggested that conflict at the line manager level was due to Internal Relation ignorance by line managers or actions by union members without consultation of the line managers.SUGGESTION ON ESTABLISHING GOOD UNION RELATIONSHIP 11 Managers play assorted roles at the most. usually called as “collective bargaining agreement (CBA)” between management and union during negotiations (Baladad. 2003). personalities and management styles. part arbitrator. managers and supervisors must familiarize themselves with all aspects of the labor agreement.2010). In order to administer the contract fairly. including members and officers of the union. the manager is the co-negotiator. Essentially. managers must well aware unions have a propensity to insist on arbitration in termination cases (Stanley. demotion and discharge are common of disciplinary action. Sometimes the negotiations are tiresome and contentious. . Dynamic Line Manager Yarrington et. Managers will need to be quite resourceful in dealing with the contract. Managers also have to prepare the contract and have responsibilities to make the contract work. Oral and written reprimand. the key planner. they have to deal with unions during negotiation session. while at the same time meeting organizational goals and objectives.
2003). you’ve probably ruined your reputation and perhaps even your health”. employee voice. and relying on the knowledge of frontline employees. work design. As . Some cases unions have defended the traditional ways by fighting against the changes but in some other cases. Khan and Khan (2011) highlighted that unions always being blamed for non cooperation and always demanding for benefits and their harsh and quarrelsome attitude. through consultation. Win or lose. Black and Lynch (2004) reported support from unions improved when increased managerial focus on employee involvement. union’s cooperated for saving jobs and promoting human side benefits of more flexible work organization. supervisors and managers can minimize employee’s frustrations and improve operating efficiencies by addressing employee concerns (Stanley. Unions have also played a proactive reformist role. Worker Participation and Employee Involvement Silva (2009) mentioned effective corporate strategies can no longer be developed by top management without information inputs from. continuous innovation and incentive based compensation. However. A few strategies to being adapt in increasing worker involvement such as employees at all levels are acquiring higher educational qualifications and skills. information sharing and two ways communication procedure. workforce training and incentive based compensation. by pushing management toward new forms of organization such as group work. They identified four broad component of this innovation of managerial practice that is associated with productivity and wages. quality management.SUGGESTION ON ESTABLISHING GOOD UNION RELATIONSHIP Workplace Harmonies and Cooperative 12 Sen Charles (2003) concluded a good analogy for fighting with employee as “Blowing the whistle on your employees is like being a skunk at picnic. if organization can adapt the union relations issues by approached in a positive manner. Emphasis is being placed on greater involvement of employees in matters affecting their works and jobs.
customer satisfaction. Managers must consider the fact that effective leadership and decision making are heavily dependent on communication and . and will instead respond better to be more participative (Silva. Two way communication avenues depend on a willingness to deploy resources by both parties. 2009). 2010). as well to organizational performance (Silva.SUGGESTION ON ESTABLISHING GOOD UNION RELATIONSHIP 13 such. maintain reduce cost and operate successfully in a global marketplace. they will be less amenable to management through control and commands. A step to enhance two way communications is there should a knowledge regarding communication skills. due to changes in work today it requires more interpersonal skills. organization must examine their traditional practices in every facet of their operations and aware for success demand the most effective use of all available. and the channel can be access by all employees. To be successful in the face of these. market share. To enhance the understanding. small group activities. greater coordination among workers and sharing information through information flow and data analysis. The performance of organization is affected by the manner in which that organization communicates with the employees. Other than that. but the return on investment is priceless such us outcomes can be more accurately and more efficient future resource investments (Schultz. 2009). joint consultation. because it covers whole range of issues and other matters such as productivity. The starting element to install mechanism to promote effective union management relations is communication. Communication Ozley (2005) conclude that realities of organization in 21st Century is have to facing with challenges to increase qualities. a two way communication may influence behavior in desired direction. Exposure to employee in decisions at the point of production will help to increase quality and productivity. performance appraisals and motivation. Changes in organization can be brought to an effective way when there is sufficient understanding between management and employees. a structure of communication channels.
Craver (2005) indicated that training for new and experienced supervisors is essential because well-trained supervisor will lower an employer’s chance of being caught in lawsuit. Training A good management will always see the supervisors or leaders as critical to labor relations because it is they who interact most with employees. and their attitude towards employee will justify the views about the management. Therefore supervisory development is an important aspect of developing well labor relations with management.SUGGESTION ON ESTABLISHING GOOD UNION RELATIONSHIP 14 information flows (Diesing. managers need to communicate in ways which have a positive effect and they must aware of the various systems of communication and use them as the best advantage. At Malaysia. To be effective. Many employers viewed the supervisor training as an expendable expenses and waste of money. discrimination. Employee’s Satisfaction The other element that important to management look into during establishing relationship with union is employee satisfaction. 1961). They also are the first to identify problems. supervisor training should include a general overview of basic Labor Act such as Industrial Relations Act 1967. It also will protect employers if any cases involving managers or supervisor who doing such abusive things as above by saying to court that organization already provide a training to those managers. Organization should giving higher priority in providing necessaries facilities . harrasment and retaliation. It is important to organization know the satisfaction level of the employees and they can take measure to improve the productivity. With the proper training. Supervisors and managers should be trained on legal issues including harassment. However. safety. Employment (Termination and Lay-off Benefits Regulations) 1980 and Employment Provident Fund Act 1991. wage. supervisors will become familiar with those laws and general principal to mantaining a workplace free of discrimination. military service. leave. working hours and employee privacy.
promotion opportunities. so less dispute to production movement. Ramasamy (2008) stated that Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) stress that the Employment Act 1955 should be amended to stipulate a minimum wage RM900. it is a means of redistribution income. However in study done by Kovach (1995). . employees ranked interesting work as the most important job attribute and good wages ranked fifth. whereas when it came to what managers thought employees wanted. Further. An employee needs recognition and proof of his value with satisfactory element such as monetary compensation and convenient workplace.SUGGESTION ON ESTABLISHING GOOD UNION RELATIONSHIP 15 that will improve satisfaction and reduce dissatisfactions. good wages ranked first while interesting work ranked fifth. Saari and Judge (2004) mentioned that research studies across many years. MTUC have also demanded a cost of living allowance (COLA) of RM300 (MTUC. “If unions address issues of workers dissatisfactions. The most important regarding a money for employees is their wages not below than poverty line. organizations and types of jobs show that when employees are asked to evaluate different facets of their job such as supervision. low productivity and involved in several issue that commit to effect management reputation. It asserts that the minimum wage is a way of protecting workers who are often subjected to exploitation. Usual symptoms of dissatisfactions between employees to organization such as absenteeism. 2007:22). high turnover. a condition that can result in chaos with an organization. the more dissatisfied will be the most attracted to union membership”. An employer has the right to expect an employee carry out duties in a competent and appropriate manner. Some managers think employees are most desirous of pay to the exclusion of other job attributes such as interesting work. pay. In addition to the minimum wage. coworkers and the nature of work itself generally emerges as the most important job dissatisfactions. Less of dissatisfactions will reduce the possibilities of union raised their concern to management. the result is low self-esteem. Foster (2009) mentioned that employer and employee inter related due to dependency on each other. When an employee’s needs are not being met. As Clark (1998) argues.
almost 46.4 percent) and lack of training (48. Yet money cannot safe all morale issues but the backbone of employee satisfaction is respect for workers and job they perform. Other factor is level of job security (52. less of promotion opportunities (63. Study done by Kumar and Murray (2001.SUGGESTION ON ESTABLISHING GOOD UNION RELATIONSHIP 16 Other than wages.9 percent).7 percent reported an increase in healthy and safety risk at workplace contribute to their dissatisfaction.6 percent. showing workers that they are being heard and putting honest dedication into compromising will often help to improve morale. bonuses also can seriously improve employee satisfaction and should give when possible.7 percent). Even if management cannot meet all the demands of employees. The highest dissatisfactions reported is increase in workload of work which is 86. 2002). Green and Haywood (2011) analyzed that workplace where conditions are more dangerous or less pleasant generate lower job satisfaction and it is these conditions that led the jobs becoming ionized in first place. .
. Finally. training and a way to meet employee’s satisfaction. Secondly. both unions and management have to overcome the past history in order to meet the organizational goals. organization has to change the way of relationship into more partnership as each parties contribute and depending to for each other. . quality of managerial and coordinating skills among managers in organization during handling unions and at the same time to meet organizational goal should being improved. A step to establish relationship between union and management in workplace mostly involved organization strategy on how to win the union members support.SUGGESTION ON ESTABLISHING GOOD UNION RELATIONSHIP Conclusion 17 There is many substantial researches that examine the benefits of union can provide to organizations or influence of unions to organization productivity. it seems less of knowledge and research of what actually can constitute to good union management relationship. It was found that there are four elements that influence the smoothness of relationships. communication. employer must deploy a good practice in order to provide workplace harmonies and cooperative. This element has being fully elaborate with four sub point which is worker participation and employee involvement. This preliminary research involved information and data combining through a various research regarding unions which done previously. Respect and trust is essential to move together and learning from a mistake done previously should being adapt as a guidelines to move further. Firstly. Thirdly.
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YEAR 2005-NOV 2011 SECTOR 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 NOV 2011 PRIVATE STATUTORY BODY AND LOCAL AUTHORITY EMPLOYER TOTAL 390 396 407 421 436 439 441 GOVERNMENT 127 130 130 132 137 139 145 91 13 92 13 92 13 92 14 93 14 98 14 98 14 621 631 642 659 680 690 698 Table 2 (http://jheks.289 803.003 Table 1 (source: http://jheks.mohr.SUGGESTION ON ESTABLISHING GOOD UNION RELATIONSHIP 22 APPENDIX NUMBER OF MEMBERSHIP AND TRADE UNION IN MALAYSIA.my) .860 803.my) NUMBER OF TRADE UNION BY SECTOR IN MALAYSIA. YEAR 2005-NOV 2011 TRADE YEAR MEMBERSHIP UNION 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 OKT 2011 621 631 642 659 680 690 698 761.gov.mohr.585 803.565 806.160 801.gov.212 805.
308 296.587 487.306 317.437 317.566 NOV 2011 698 Table 4 (http://jheks.gov.569 485.016 317.mohr.852 484.212 805.565 806.my) .gov.542 485.289 803.my) NUMBER OF TRADE UNION MEMBERSHIP BY GENDER IN MALAYSIA.181 485.585 803. YEAR 2005-NOV 2011 NUMBERS OF TOTAL YEAR MALE FEMALE TRADE MEMBERSHIP UNION 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 621 631 631 659 680 690 761.906 486.747 317. FORESTY AND FISHERY MINING AND QUARRY PRODUCTION ELECTRIC.679 319.978 318.003 464. GAS AND WATER CONSTRUCTION COMMERCE 54 55 55 58 58 56 54 1 39 11 18 1 39 11 19 61 1 40 11 21 62 1 40 11 24 63 1 1 1 40 11 30 59 146 150 154 159 162 169 176 40 40 11 11 32 32 65 64 TRANSPORTATION 61 AND TELECOMMINICATION SERVICES TOTAL 291 295 298 303 311 317 327 621 631 642 659 680 690 698 Table 3 (http://jheks. 2005-NOV 2011 INDUSTRY 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 NOV 2011 AGRICULTURE.860 803.SUGGESTION ON ESTABLISHING GOOD UNION RELATIONSHIP 23 NUMBER OF TRADE UNION BY INDUSTRY IN MALAYSIA.mohr.160 801.
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