Workers all over the world have recently found it useful to unite so as to articulate their problems with one mutual voice. This has come at the wake of some workers undergoing economical exploitation at the hands of their bosses. It has therefore lead to united workers movements which are better known as trade unions, these unions seek to unite all workers regardless of their physical, religious or even political differences. They sensitize workers on the need to be united towards a common goal or supposedly enemy. They articulate the grievances of the workers mutually in a style better known as collective bargaining, this style of approach leaves the organizations or the employers with no one to victimize. This is up to recent times one of the best achievements of trade unions, initially workers underwent oppression and exploitation but had no guts at all to put forth their grievances, this is because earlier attempts by fellow workers to agitate for better conditions, saw the negative outcome of them been laid off.
This has therefore lived to frighten other workers but the coming of the workers union, has cleared the fear subdued it and replaced it with determination. Workers world wide can now request for a pay rise, agitate when something is not fair and no one will be victimized and consequently punished. In colonial American, trade unions played a great part in the liberation of countries. They acted as training grounds for future leaders, they were also used to spread political views among Americans, this went scot free because of the collective bargaining strategy, and no one in particular was victimized. Migration of people from rural to urban areas had a big impact on the formation of trade unions. People who associate closely because of their form of labor form trade unions so skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled laborers formed trade unions to articulate their plight collectively, this started actively around a century ago and was the onset of trade unionism which has from then since been useful to workers.
Political Orientation of Trade Unions
The world all over, political orientation of trade unions is determined by the type of regimes or the powers that exist in a given land or economy. This implies that in colonial states or the now developing states, the political regime during the uprising of trade unions being the Colonial government, the political orientation of trade unions subject to the powers that be will be seen to turn into political parties. This is because most agitators and liberators were employees of the colonial governments and as stated earlier trade unions provided a training ground for future leaders. They used the trade to agitate for American rights the trade unions then gradually turned into political parties. It is also good to note that for instance in America trade unions were used and were in good mainly during the burn imposed by the colonial government on political parties, trade unions played a good role in keeping the pressure intact.
In developed world, the same case that trade unionism political orientation is dependant on the powers that be, still applies. Here however as most of them have had long term records of political stability, the trade unions are specific on the roles they play. They are reported to play the roles of which they are registered with and which they pledged to the registrar (Poole 1986, pp. 35-38). This simply means that trade unions in developed world are conscious in matters affecting workers directly. They are by no chance interfering with the political processes of the economy in which they are found. Therefore, they don’t have a real orientation towards the politics of the state. Here I seek to discuss in detail the political orientation of trade unions from two countries as directed. I personally therefore choose to look at a developing and an already developed nation, my choice of countries would be America which is very familiar with and Britain incidentally, the colonial father of the former.
The American system of trade unionism cannot be discussed in isolation with the British system, this is logically because of the tight relationships that the two countries have. Therefore, the best way to discuss the system in America is by simply using the dependency theory perspective. Contrary the rise of trade unions in Britain can be best analyzed on modernization theory. The reason for the rise of trade unions was the industrial revolution from the ancient agrarian production. There were more workers who led to the rise of trade unions. Both systems of trade unionism have one common characteristic of been very much involved in political activities of their countries and causing a big rise in temperatures, as workers are the majority.
It is evident in records that in both countries there have came instances where trade unions move on to become political parties and even contest for elections. Evidence of this occurrence is the America American Study Union which is reportedly to have taken up that name so that the colonialist would not see through the mask that they wore. This transformed into a political party and went as far as the elections. Many trade unions were on the fore front in agitating for the release of detainees who were freedom fighters. Through the dependency theory, it is evident that American trade unions took up this political behavior from British system of trade unions. This was not to change even after independence, then since, American trade unions always have a political dimension.
In Britain, the Labor Party is reportedly to have risen to power because of the endless campaigning from the British Labor Union. A case like this was witnessed in America early in the millennium, it cannot be forgotten that the America Federation of Labor was instrumental in bringing the certain systems into power and removing others. This is a similarity of the system of trade unions, they are very active in campaigning for political parties which they think have their best interest at heart, they also don’t shutter from condemning bad legislation and poor government policies in any sector of the economy. They can be termed a vital tool that the people can use against the big wigs.
Been very active in political matters despite the fact that they are not registered as political parties, it is very unnatural to have no instance whatsoever where the trade unions have collided with the authorities. Both countries have had their fair share of this naturality. This is however evident in almost all economies. While playing their agitative role and criticizing the government, most leaders who are anti-reformists don’t find this going down well with them. This is where conflict between government and trade unions begin. There have been industrial unrests which are brought forth by this. In both there has been such a scenario where by the temperatures rise because the trade unions and the government are not conforming.
Trade unions in the two countries are similarly very political because of the leadership of them. In America, a certain class of bourgeoisie or the ruling elite or a certain caliber of people characterizes the leadership of trade unions. If this is not the case with the leadership, then the trade unions closely relate to these same people. The latter works best as the politicians are in a position to control the activity of trade unions while working behind the scenes. They have great influence on the decisions that the trade unions make, this is the similar case with British trade unions which are also reportedly to work closely with the ruling elite. This simple fact of the leadership of trade unions in the two countries working closely or together with political leaders makers the nature of trade unions in both countries very much political (Phil 2007, pp. 76-83).
In as much as there are many similarities of the form of trade unionism in the two countries, it is again unnatural not to have the slightest differences. However, it is wise to note that the differences would not and cannot be as many as the similarities in the case of the countries in question. The main reason why this is so is because Britain and America share a lot of things in common, despite the fact that Britain’s trade unionism resulted from modernization, America’s same came from dependency to Britain and the struggle for independence from the same.
In Britain, as civilization was there first, most of their trade unions are formed from a well laid down legal background. They have a master administrative system and to back up this, they have clear cut ideological perspective that is well known and articulated for. Been legal organizations with legalized operational jurisdiction they have the trade union manifesto which spells out their purpose. On the contrary, American trade unions are not up this far, they are reportedly to be with no manifestos and if at all they have one, they don’t follow tit to the latter, they have poor and complicated legal framework which leaves them with little knowledge on their powers and jurisdiction according to the laws of the land. With all this toppled by the fact that there are no ideological perspectives to guide them on their way to their goal, American trade unions fail.
Another major differential issue between the two is the financial issue. As is it known to every mankind, funds are of the essence for functioning and now of more essence for organizational functioning. Trade unions in Britain have enough funds to finance their operations independently. This makes it had for the British government of the day to threaten and/or shove the trade unions around. With this state of financial security and independence, the trade unions cannot possibly fail in their operations because this duly increases their bargaining power. On the other hand, it is different and the opposite is the case for American trade unions (Clarke &Clements 1978, pp. 98-105). They have reportedly weak financial base which gives the government an upper hand, they ignore the struggles of trade unions as irrelevant. This would not be so if only their financial bases were as strong as those of British trade unions.
Difference in Industrial Relations System
Industrial relationship system is the kind of relationship that exists between workers usually represented by trade unions and the management. Governments in virtually all the economies around the world are involved in industrial relations. However, the reason for involvement differ from state to state, even within a given economy the role of government involvement is never static, it is dependant on the regime of the time, this implies that, it will change from time to time depending on the policies of the regime.
Experts also state that the ideological dimensions of a given regime always influence the involvement of the same regime in industrial relations. Having discussed the political orientation of two economies, we can therefore boldly move to evaluate the differential impact of the same on the economies’ industrial relations. Britain been a democratic country, does not deeply involve itself in industrial relations. They allow a system of laissez faire to surpass and they only come into picture during policy formulation and implementation. As stated earlier their trade unions have proper legal frame work with well defined jurisdiction this fact leaves the British government at peace with issues to do with industrial relations.
The government has confidence in the ability of the trade unions to make sound judgment on matters relating to industrial relations, this is again backed up by the fact that the trade unions are well provided for in terms of finance therefore the government incurs no costs and therefore chooses not to directly involve itself in industrial relations (Panitch & Swartz 2003, pp. 55-59). Looking at the case of America, the situation cannot be so, this is attributed to the fact that the trade unions have no substantial legal framework and therefore cannot even fully establish their jurisdiction. They have no funds of their own to drive their operations therefore the government in America is much deeply involved in industrial relations as compared to that of Britain.
Formation and the coming up of trade unions can be termed as a great relief to workers wherever in the world. This is simply because trade unions came to them at a time when they really needed the, a time when there was acute economical exploitation. In recent years, trade unions have also been seen to play the role of keeping the government on toes this has also really helped the people in a particular economy. Industrial relations are dependant on the regime of the time, however with powerful trade unions, a government does not need to go deeper into industrial relations, and this gives the citizens power to control their economy.