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The relevance of Trade Unions

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30.APR.09

Editor: Another year has come for workers to celebrate workers’ day. Yet for the vast majority of workers in this country, the day is just another holiday for them to do whatsoever is pleasing to them. Some might be fixing up their homes, picnicking, partying or just relaxing. Few will reflect on the purpose for such a day.{{more}} Gone are the times when workers were interested in work place issues, the rights of workers and the importance of Unions and organized workers.

As the nature of work and the work place has evolved, so, too, has the focus of Trade Unions. Such changes have ensured that Unions and Union leaders remain relevant to the work place with its constituent issues.

This relevance is encapsulated in the principles of decent work, proper wages, safe and healthy working environment, and the right to bargain and negotiate. It is critical that the philosophy and rationale behind Trade Unions be embedded in workers.

Trade Unions will have to pursue with vigour a review of the strategic orientations of workers’ education programmes and negotiating practices if they are to be relevant in today’s global and economic meltdown. More effort must be made to engage the rank and file of the membership through information and training. This can be done by ensuring that interests and concerns of their members and workers incorporate into their negotiation of issues such as promotion, equality, non-discrimination, gender balance, free from fear and political victimization.

The worker will have to understand with all these changes and challenges they face, their only true and loyal friend besides the omnipotent one, is the Trade Union. Trade Unions have withstood the test of time and have always come through for workers. They are the last bastion of democracy in our society.

Man on the Go

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