Freedom of Association


Key Terms:

  • Freedom of association means that workers are free to form or join groups of their own choosing, including trade unions.
  • Collective bargaining means that these groups are able to negotiate with management, on behalf of workers, on issues such as pay and working conditions.

The basic principle is to ensure there is a means of communication between workers and management to facilitate the discussion of workplace issues including workers' terms and conditions.

The business case

Conflict situations can be avoided and disputes resolved more quickly when there is good communication between workers and managers. Both formal and informal lines of communication should be encouraged

Trade unions can help by:

  • Improving communication between employees and managers so that employees can understand and participate in achieving the organisation's objectives
  • Negotiating improvements to pay and working conditions so that people feel more satisfaction at work and stay longer in their jobs
  • Supporting training and development so that employees have the skills necessary for improved products and services
  • Acting as a positive force for change - by winning employees' support to the introduction of new technologies and ways of working.

Now take the next step through: Freedom of Association and the Rght to Collective Bargaining.

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