Labor Unions

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Explain how the actions of the trade union of the case study given below are likely to affect its members. Meena works at Simcox Ltd, a factory making metal parts for washing machines. She is a member of a trade union and works as a shop steward. The union has carried out collective bargaining about pay levels, but this has broken down and the union is now in dispute with Meena's employer. The actions of the trade union: Meena's trade has balloted for an official strike over its pay dispute and members have voted to take strike action. Explain how this action, if it goes ahead, is likely to affect the employees such as Meena.  

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It is very difficult to predict how this strike will affect Meena and her coworkers without knowing more about their own circumstances and the circumstances of the company for which they work.  It is also important to know something about the laws of the jurisdiction where the company is located.

For example, if Meena and her fellow employees are poor and if their union does not have a strike fund, the strike will be a great difficulty for them.  They will give up their incomes for an indefinite period of time.  If they do not have savings or a strike fund to help them, they could suffer badly.

The company’s circumstances and the laws of the jurisdiction are also important.  If the company has solid finances, it might be able to simply break the strikers.  It could wait them out until they give up their strike due to lack of funds.  It could also (depending on the laws) simply hire non-union employees to replace the strikers.  This would be devastating for Meena and her coworkers as they would be out of a job.

So, the impact of this strike is very hard to know.  If the workers have money saved and/or a strike fund, they might be able to win the strike and gain better wages.  If however, the firm can wait them out and/or hire replacement workers, the current employees will be badly harmed by the strike.

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