• Employees want

    • to feel
      • valued
      • listened to
      • appreciated
    • to have
      • good relationships with managers
  • Poor relations may result in

    • Increased absence
    • Dissatisfaction
    • Higher turnover
    • Industrial action (strikes)
    • Reduced productivity

Employee Representation

Arises when employees are part of a formal structure that involves them in the decision-making process of a business.

  • Proposed redundancy programmes
  • When employees are transferred from one employer to another
  • On changes to pension arrangements
  • Proposed changes to working time arrangements


  • Increased empowerment and motivation of the workforce
  • Employees become more committed to the objectives and strategy of the business
  • Better decision-making because employee experience and insights are taken into account
  • Lower risk of industrial disputes


  • Time-consuming and potentially slows decision-making
  • Conflicts between employer and employee interests may be a block to essential change
  • Managers may feel their authority is being undermined

Trade Unions

Main Role

  • Protect and improve the real incomes of their members
  • Provide or improve job security
  • Protect workers against unfair dismissal and other issues relating to employment legislation
  • Lobby for better working conditions
  • Offer a range of work-related services including support for people claiming compensation for injuries sustained in a job

Two main functions of a trade union


  • To represent and protect the interest of the employees


  • Negotiate on behalf of employees with employer

Advantages for an employer having a good relationship with a trade union

  • Negotiating with trade unions saves time and cost rather than dealing with all employees individually
  • Unions are part of the communication process between the business and employees
  • Employee morale and motivation may be improved if they know that their interests are being protected by a union
  • The trade union can be a supportive partner in helping a business undergo significant change