Pluralist and radical frame
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The first differences between the unitary, pluralistic and radical frame of reference is their view about conflict arises between employees and employers. Unitary theory rejects the basic antagonism between both because this theory insists all the parties might work together for the common goal and shared purpose, so there is no conflict on self-interest. However, pluralistic theory mention conflict is the natural and inevitable issue between employees and employers due to the inherent competing interest.
In the view of pluralistic theory, the presence of conflict is because of the imbalance and division between the interest of capital and labour. Secondly, the power of authority also attaches importance by these theories. For unitary theory, the management team is the only party who hold the authority where the employees do not have any right in decision making and make a statement. In contrast, pluralistic theory says that the power apportions equally between all the interested parties. The radical theory persists the management is the one who holds the higher power because it is the head of decision making.
Besides that, the perspectives about trade union between the theories are different too. A trade union is viewed as intruders in unitary theory because it will complicate the running of management. Pluralistic theory encourages the establishment of a trade union as it believes trade union is the legitimate right of workers to get their benefits and incentives. The radical theory allows the establishment of a trade union but the function of it has been restricted as expressing and mobilizing the conscious only. The trade union exists when the employees start to respond to the capitalism of the organization.
(Bla Bla, 2017) The feature of unitary theory might bring too much priority to the management and the employees only can receipt what their company offers to them. This theory also treats the conflict negatively. The impact of this theory on employee relations in companies is it will be difficult for the management to generate a policy which balances the welfare, interest, and goal of both employers and employees. Other than unitary theory, the pluralistic theory will cause lack of efficiency in collective bargaining process because this theory is paying more attention to the employees.
The government will play a subsidiary role rather than a dominant role during the negotiation between employers and employees. Last but not least, the impact of radical theory should be the management is the dominant party in the relationship due to the capitalism. The employees are the weaker party because they exchange their effort for the reward. 1. 2 The development of trade unions in Singapore can vary from time to time. The most significant trade unions in Singapore around the 1970s is NTUC which establishes for bargaining the welfare of its members.
Omnibus unions and house unions also rapidly develop around the 1980s. After the 1982 Amendment to the Trade Union Act, the role of trade unions has been defined as an association of worker which promotes good industrial relations between workers and employers, develop the working condition and raise productivity for the benefit of workmen, employers and the economy of Singapore. (MOM, 2017) This role remains until today. Relevant legislations and acts have been enacted and amended along the time to fit with the current environment and economic situation.
In addition, the labour movement of Singapore is inseparable with People’s Action Party (PAP). Hence, the nature of industrial relations in Singapore nowadays is intimate with trade unions because they are the one who negotiates with democratic socialist PAP and communicates with the party which is hard to deal with. Trade unionism has faced three main issues. The millennials in Singapore prefer to be a freelancer through finding freelance work on online apps and platforms. The aspirations of employees in Singapore also raise to a higher demand according to the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
The new business models such as online courses and virtual currency which running through the internet are hard for trade unions to contact and protect the relevant parties. The impacts of these issues on the employee relations are shorter employment periods and more frequent job changes. This may lead to the employees face a problem in finding a new job with better benefits. Besides that, the employees are more likely to join associations which offer networking and learning opportunities. Hence, the employees might suffer a loss when the employers use a trick to decrease their welfares and benefits.
1. 3 The main players in employee relations is employees, employers, and government. For employees, their main role is to secure better employment policy and get a better status for themselves. The employers are responsible for creating and sustaining employee motivation. Other than that, employers must ensure the commitment from employees to achieve higher levels of efficiency. There is not at all, the government should develop various laws and regulations which must follow strictly in the workplace.
The relevant matters included child labour laws, minimum wage act and the amendments in the health and safety act. There are many issues which will bring different impacts to the employee relations. They are political, economic, social and technology. From the view of the political element, there are a lot of regulations and acts which protect the employees from the exploitation of employers such as Employment Act (Cap 91), Employment Claims Act and Employment (Part-time Employees) Regulations 1996.
Trade Disputes Act (Cap 331) and Trade Unions Act (Cap 333) also have been enacted to guide the right of employers from the over-oppression of employees. Hence, the following political elements have helped to balance the relationships and powers between employee relations. For economic element, the stage of the business cycle in the country will bring a great impact to the employee relations. If the country is in a recession, the high unemployment rate will make the status of employees worst and vice versa.
The population’s education and lifestyle choices which are one of the social elements also have affected the employee relations. Most of the Singapore citizens receive higher education and yearn for high-quality lifestyle. Hence, the employer would face a difficulty in deciding the hire and salary of high capacity employees. Lastly, the use of technology nowadays has caused the employers looking for functional and knowledgeable talents whom can operate and deal well with computer and relevant applications.