Has the Development of Human Resource Management Practices Replaced the Need for Trade Unions? Discuss. Essay

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Trade unions have been a central part of the Australian workplace. The workplace however has changed over the past two decades and it is possible that the role of trade unions within the workplace has been replaced by the introduction of Human Resource Management (HRM) practices. As stated by Leigh, 2005 “from 1914 until 1980, at least two in five workers were members of a union” and unionism was therefore for the most part the dominant approach, in terms of employment relations. However current membership is at around 20 per cent and coinciding with this decline in trade union membership is the increase in the step away from collectivism to individualism and the use of strategic HRM practices in response to the shift from a …show more content…
As per the EEO legislation, organisations have a legal duty to provide fair treatment to all members of society without any discrimination based on skin colour, race, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability and even trade union membership among others, and thus employing people on merit.

Changes in technology, market competitiveness and organisational restructuring mean organisations need to be up to date in their effort to take control of situations as they arise. Training and development teaches employees how to perform their job better by acquiring a specific skill/experience as well as preparing them for future responsibilities. The hard and soft approach is best illustrated through the training and development practices of HRM as it emphasises “the acquisition of knowledge and attitudes to facilitate the achievement of career goals and corporate objectives” (Balnave et al, 2009).

Studies have shown, workers are more satisfied with new pay practices, especially when it is related to individual performance (Petrescu A. and Simmons R. 2008). As part of strategic reward systems, this form of pay for performance agreements encourages employee flexibility, dynamism and contribution (Balnave et al 2009). This according to Legge K, 2005, results in a “market orientated, entrepreneurial individualistic culture” designed to undermine