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Posted on March 18th, 2013, by

Essay Final
Topic: Unions are important institutions of employee representation in some countries, but not in others. Why? Your answer must provide argument and evidence from at least two countries: China and Australia.

1. Introduction
Unions play an important role in today’s workplace because they not only protect the rights of the employees but also they make it possible to have all the necessary benefits including bargaining for higher wages and improving working conditions. That is why unions are considered to be very important institutions of employee representation although it is known that not all the countries have a developed movement of unions.
My goal in this essay is to discuss the work of unions in China and Australia and to explain why the unions are not significant in some countries.
Background of the problem
The first unions appeared in the 18-th century in the period of industrialization. The first unions were related to trades guilds ”“ the organizations of the medieval ages which protected such trades as weaving, bread braking and others. In order to support activity of the union, the members should pay dues. The leaders of the unions represent the interests of the union. They take part in negotiations with the employer.

Significance of the study
This essay touches upon one of the most important and interesting themes ”“ trade unions and their role in the workplace. Trade unions help the employees of different organizations to solve their every day working problems.
Definitions of key concepts

A Union is a special organization of employees who have the major goal to act together in order to protect the rights and benefits of employees in the workplace. There are a great deal of unions all over the world. Unfortunately, not all the employees have their unions. As a rule small companies have no trade unions while large companies have rather powerful unions which consist of thousands of employees. Moreover, the unions can play some role in politics too.

Discussion themes
In order to develop the theme of this paper, it is necessary to analyze the role of trade unions in the workplace of two countries China and Australia.
Unions in China and their role

Argument: Unions in China are not really institutions of employees’ representation.
Evidences: Although trade unions play an important role in the life of employees of different countries of the world, in China, trade unions are not really unions. They represent a government organ. For example, ACFTU, All China Federation of Trade Unions, is absolutely government organization which defends the interests of the government. (Taylor & Li, 2007, p.702)
That is why the major role of trade unions in China cannot be compared with traditional trade unions. (Lu, et. at., 2010, p.203)
The status of ACFTU is protected by the law. Moreover, the head of this organization is usually appointed by the party. According to the law, the ACFTU is “a unified national organization”ť. Besides, the Chinese workers cannot organize independent trade unions. The reason of this fact is that in China, the employment relations system is a so called labor administration system. It means that the party of China, or the state itself controls the relationship between management and labor. However, in many advanced industrial countries of the world the relationship between management, labor and the state are equal. (Cooke, 2011, p.315)

Due to the market reform in China, the relations between the employee and trade union are insulate. Industrial conflicts take a special place in the Chinese society. These numerous disputes are connected not only with the individual worker’s problems but with collective problems. According to the statistical data, about 600,000 workers were involved in different collective disputes in 2009. These disputes touched upon the theme of compensations, labor insurance, unfair wages and so on.
Chinese workers of state-owned enterprises are not satisfied with job losses and they take actions such as protests, petitions and rally. However, the unions cannot solve these labor disputes and they go to arbitration. Despite all these facts, a great number of workers in China are the members of the unions. The reason is that the membership is compulsory in China. (Cooke, 2011, p.317)

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