The choice of stories chosen by media editors, the angle of coverage, the bias in reporting all add up to give a distorted view of the state of worker welfare. For example, in British media, the headlines that usually dominate union conference season do not highlight the progress made by unions in attaining due recognition by their employers. Nor is the coverage centred on class action and employee neglect lawsuits, where unprecedented compensation amounts are being granted by the courts. Instead media highlights only the political aspects. This situation makes it imperative that a culture of fair and just worker representation evolves in corporate Britain. Workers need to ask hard questions of their managements, defending the security of their jobs and demanding safe work conditions. Workers should also unite to improve the attitude of the media toward worker representation. It is high time workplace issues “such as health and safety, working time, equal opportunities and minimum standards – issues championed by the unions for decades” are given due media space. (Walsh, 2001, p.130)
Given the flaws in the present arrangement and in recognition of management’s inability to adequately resolve employee concerns, workers can organize themselves so that their collective bargaining powers are increased. One way of doing this is to reconstruct bargaining models built into the British public sector prior to 1980. For example,
“Bargaining arrangements remained centralised until well into the 1980s, concerned with universal terms and conditions of employment in the different sections that made up the public sector. These arrangements were mostly based on Whitley-type procedures, a feature of the industrial relations procedures in the public sector from the 1950s onwards. The result was a relatively stable and centralised pattern of bargaining until the 1980s, with limited attempts, by management and unions, to open up more devolved patterns of bargaining arrangements.” (Fairbrother, 2000, p.47)
In conclusion, it is obvious that worker representation is inadequate in corporate board-rooms and in legislative chambers. That HR Managers can satisfactorily reconcile the needs, demands and aspirations of the workforce is also an overstatement. With British media being dominated by a handful of powerful business interests, news coverage is conspicuous by the absence of meaningful labour issues. As it is now fairly clear that the interests of the employees and their employers are always divergent (if not opposing) from one another, there is a strong case for the renewal of trade union formation in the 21st century. Finally, while from the point of view of the media, trade unions might have become obsolete and prosaic organisations “that are worth talking about only when they are in conflict with the government over policy. But the truth is unions are champions of the collective project or principle, that has to be recognised or listened to as champions of the individual.” (Satre, 2005, p.803)
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