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Trade the union
The good and bad of trade unions

Anything that evolved in history happened out of need. And when it diverted from the main cause for which it came into existence, it slowly extinguishes. The same is true with trade unions. The history of trade unions reveals how workers unionised out of the need to stand against oppression, tyranny and suppression of greedy capitalists. But, with time, the popularity of trade unions has faded gradually because of many reasons.

Firstly, hatred against trade unions increased especially with the emergence of free-market economy. Over the years, capitalist entrepreneurs and trade unions usually worked towards opposing goals – one for shareholder’s wealth, the other for collective bargaining – with a strike being a potent negotiating weapon of unions to achieve their employee benefit goals. Secondly, innumerable researches came out against trade unions revealing how existence of trade unions increased wage rate, even inefficiency and lowered productivity to a large extent. Economists like Milton Friedman criticized trade unions severely, terming the concept the biggest blow to capitalism. Cases like General Motors in US (where the trade union almost bled the company dry with strikes) and Dunlop in India (which closed down once and for all due to a long standing strike) have only added to this proposition.

Thirdly, unions have been gradually diverting from their original objectives. With political support, they have been trying to take on countries at ransom. Unions like The Communication Workers Union, International Trade Union Confederation or World Federation of Trade Unions became too powerful, politically motivated, and subsequently, disastrous with their agendas. Unions no longer protected the interests of the poor rather worked towards the benefit of political parties.

Although in countries like Sweden, UK, Germany and Japan, a large portion of the labour is unionised safeguarding worker interests, in many other countries, unions are hated for their political affiliations. Until unions move away from this destructive mode, the time is not far when they’re finally made illegal!

By:- Akram Hoque

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