This essay will demonstrate the meaning of the term 'employment relations' according to different sources and will include the different initiatives and schemes of that term. This paper seeks to provide the answer to the research question and will analyse critically the benefits and concerns for the initiatives and schemes involved, I will investigate how the initiatives affect the 'trade unions' in terms of their decline in membership and their influence. Trade unions have been decreasing in influence and it is in this essay that I will explain why that is and also how to rectify the on going problem. In order to answer the question, research will be carried out through various journal articles, academic literature and via the internet. There will also be a conclusion at the end of this essay where by I will be summarising the paper and highlighting the main findings and arguments within the topic discussed.
According to Heery and Noon (2001), "employee relations' is a common title for the industrial relations function within personnel management and is also sometimes used as an alternative label for the academic field of industrial relations. The term underlines the fact that industrial relations are not confined to the study of trade unions but embraces the broad pattern of employee management, including systems of direct communication and employee involvement that targets the individual worker", "employee relations involves the body of work concerned with maintaining employer-employee relationships that contribute to satisfactory productivity, motivation, and morale. Essentially, employee relations are concerned with preventing and resolving problems involving individuals who arise out of or affect work situations", (Heery and Noon 200, pg 53).
Trade unions are organised groups of employees who consist of workers of one or more job description. These organised groups represent people at work and the reason that they were formed was to protect the interests of their members against the employers. Trade unions exist because an individual worker has very little power to influence decisions that are made about his or her job. By joining together with other workers, there is more chance of having a voice and influence. The trade unions in Britain have played a very big and critical role within the British industrial relations. In order to provide a united voice in defence of trade union rights, they established the Trade Union Congress which would be held every year to discuss issues of importance to the labour movement. The Trade Union Congress established in 1868 and represents the political arm of the trade union movement, existing as a basic affiliation of member unions. It was mainly formed to give trade unions a political voice, and an organisation whereby unions could make debates about the affairs and issues of the trade union movement as a whole.