Definitions of Partnerships
In the present times, employees see a big leap from the early industrial relations to the new employee relations through various human resource programs in the form of trainings, team building, capacity building, values orientation, unity in living the vision of their companies and improved employee compensation package. The advancement of these programs brought about a new partnership between employer and employee which is built on trust. Gradually and carefully, employees have reposed their trust in their employers.
Under the new brand of unionism, union leaders and union representatives have the responsibility to educate their members to respond to the new calling of working as partners of their employers to raise productivity in this age of competitiveness. Union leaders and union representatives are duty-bound to look at their roles beyond just being militant and adversarial, but rather as true leaders who respond to real situations. More and more sectors of the government and society demand that unions and workers collaborate with their employers in growing their business and uplift their economy.
The burden to respond positively to the challenge of a good partnership is in the hands of Union leaders and union representatives. Thus, union leaders and union representatives evolved into leaders who call their constituents to observe good practices in the workplace – raising productivity, minimizing downtimes which are costly, and ensuring growth of their employers’ business to provide them work security. “It is probably not love that makes the world go around, but rather those mutually supportive alliances through which partners recognize their dependence on each other for the achievement of shared and private goals.
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” (Fred Allen, American comedian, 1894-1956). Trade unions recognize the need to create a kind of partnership between employees and employers in order to raise productivity in the workplace. The uncertainty lies not on their commitment to build that partnership but rather on an agreed definition and extent of that partnership. The TU’s advocacy is premised on employment security, flexibility, training, and competitiveness. “A particular concern is that some employers have sought to develop partnerships directly with their employees – avoiding the involvement of “third-party” trade unions. ” (Mark Hall, UK, June 28, 1999).
From the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) view, industrial peace may be brought about by the employer directly partnering with the employees through employee programs that uplift their conditions at work. The initiative is perceived as an exclusion of a third party like the trade union in actively involving itself in the creation of the partnership between employer and employee. The government, on the other hand, believes that the laying down of a good labor law which protects the rights of employees and employers would bring about a strong partnership between the two sectors thus supporting economic growth.
The enactment of laws which preserve employment security and provide venues to air employee grievances are believed instrumental in creating a strong partnership between employers and employees. On the other hand, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development believes that the role of Human Resource department in an organization is strategic in building a strong partnership between employer and employee. The focus is on the implementation of human resource programs which develop and empower employees.
3. Analysis of Differences in Definitions All the definitions of partnership advanced by the different sectors of society are aimed at one and the same end – stronger economy. It must be understood that what happens to any company is not an isolated case but rather the start of a whole chain of effects and implications that penetrates into the country’s economy. A company is not just a workplace. It is not just about the capitalist or the employer. A company necessary includes all the people working for it.
The company needs its people in much the same degree as the people needs its company. They need each other in order to survive economically. Thus, CBI’s view of strengthening partnership at work, though perceived as a unilateral initiative by some, is its best effort to preserve industrial peace. Employers realize that unless they can solidify their workforce and make them truly productive; their businesses will suffer tremendously in this age of competition. In the hands of a good employer, this initiative is effective, immediate, and most efficient.
Caution, though, is seen as there may be impingement to the rights of association and the rights to be heard in some cases. “Levels of trust are also determined by organizational culture. Unethical behaviour does not occur in a vacuum. It is neither caused by formal rules nor prevented by stated values. Ethical violations are accepted or rejected by employees, depending on standards of behaviour that come to be accepted in an organisation over time. (A question of trust.
By: Maitland, Roger, People Management, 13586297, 11/6/2003, Vol. 9, Issue 22). The TUC’s advocacy of partnership between employees and employers is a good indication that unionism has evolved from its roots of adversarial relations with management to a realistic commitment to help promote the country’s economy by raising the level of their involvement in the workplace. It is a good sign that unions welcome employers’ initiative to build good relations in order for employees to work productively and thus achieve harmony at work.