The British political and business circles have unsuccessfully tried to find an alternative to trade unions. However, there does not appear any viable force or concept capable of standing up to the might of the current one. The situation is similar to someone groping in the dark only to sense someone else is looking for him. This is because of the efficacy and reach of the trade union concept. The concept of collective bargaining goes far beyond the history of its founding fathers. It has also caught the imagination of entities beyond their own boundaries and areas of operation.
Historically, whenever and wherever there were disagreements and strife, dialogues and terms of peaceful negotiations were sought. Emissaries and gifts came into the picture. Efforts at negotiated settlements preceded wars. Political, economic and military strategies were considered. It was only after the wise elements of reason and diplomacy failed the saner and more powerful side declared war. In the current scenario, the trade union is perceived as a villain and a necessary evil. However, the players comprise more than the unionists, the management and the workers.
The issues of collective bargaining also necessarily involve politicians, lawyers, and the media. The problem bedeviling the unionist movement is not only because of its internal turmoil between management and the workers but also because of the external forces comprising politicians, legal luminaries, and the media. Each internal and external player, that is, the employer, the union, the politician, the legal entity and the media profess to act on behalf of the common good of all concerned, and undoubtedly they do. But all of them also have their own hidden agenda.
In the circumstances, it is neither ideal nor possible to do away with trade unions. The issues and forces connected with trade unions are too important and powerful to be thrashed out or wished away. Outlawing trade unions would be like throwing away the proverbial baby with the bathwater.
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