A workers meeting promoted by a Union: “industrial democracy” starts from the ideas of everyone
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Collectively, through Unions, workers have more power. Especially when it comes to sit at the table with employers to bargain for better working conditions. Everywhere in the world, Unions have always negotiated on behalf of workers fairer wages and better employment terms – that’s their job!
Collective bargaining between employers and trade unions is a key mean to achieve a larger labour protection and to reduce inequality in the workplace.
The result of negotiations is an agreement that governs all different areas crucial to a good work environment, like salary, workers’ tasks, safety, benefits, holidays, working hours, career, etc. Furthermore, such agreements set the procedures for the management of problematic issues and conflicts (how the two parts will jointly address work issues and resolve possible disputes that arise between them).
There are issues which each employee working for and employer should address so as to learn what are the duties and the rights as a worker in the company, reminding that each worker sharing a similar working activities are considered under the same umbrella of rights and duties.
The best negotiations look like a “win-win” game
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This task aims at focusing on specific elements of the working environment and conditions which have to be focused on so as to make the labour activity fair, respectful, equal, sustainable.
Identifying the most relevant issues concerning both your right as worker and your responsibilities as an employee will make you aware of the complexity of the relationship between employers and employees as well as the necessity of negotiated agreements on them.
Here you shall learn about the importance of negotiation and thus to think of a possible mediation so as to ameliorate your working conditions in the company where you work. You will identify the most relevant issues for you and your working colleagues, write some suggestions/proposals, prioritise them, and possibly figure out which could be the counter arguments of your company to these workers’ requests.
This way you can start becoming a main actor of your company’s life. Your ideas could be shared with your working mates and with the union delegates, so as to become issues to be discussed with the representatives of your company. Industrial democracy, in Europe, was born like this!
Go through the following exercises:
- Exercise n° 1: Make a list of about 10 requests you’d like to forward for a hypothetic negotiation so as to better the salary and the working conditions in your company.
- Exercise n° 2: Out of these ten requests, you decide which the ones you consider inalienable are, which ones represent a necessary but not fundamental condition, and which are an additional benefit compared to good working condition.
- Exercise n° 3: Now, for a moment, put yourself in your employer’s shoes. Which of the above mentioned requests would you be able to negotiate and how
- Exercise n°4: Collect information on possible solutions which have been found in other companies so as to address problems similar to the ones you are facing. Adjust your requests in line with the good practices you have found in other working places.
- Exercise n° 5: Try to figure out which could be the reaction (positive or negative) and the possible counter proposals of the company to each of the ten requests.
- Exercise n° 6: Try to imagine which possible different requests your company could forward to workers in exchange to some concessions related to the ten requests you have indicated.
Now, finally indicate the final outcome of the 10 conditions you have listed in exercise n° 1. For each of them indicate how they will be delivered on behalf of your employer and by you. Can you state for each of them that a “win win” approach has been respected?
Good! Now you have ideas to be discussed with your colleagues and the Unions’ delegates. This could be the first step to become a delegate too, or anyway to be a protagonist of your Company’s life!
- Learning Outcomes: The learner understands the starting – point of negotiations: a set of requests and proposals to be discussed with the Company, which could accept them (or part of them) in change of others its own requests.
- Knowledge Acquired • The learner understands in depth the working condition that he/she is experiencing together with his/her colleagues, and how such conditions can be improved (taking into account also the needs and interests of the counterpart). • The
- Skills Acquired • To investigate a practical reality • To describe problems • To formulate solutions and requests, in coherence with the Laws on employment in force, the National Employment Agreements and the best practices existing in the same economic s
- Competences Acquired • The learner develops his / her social and civic competence in the field of promotion of workers’ rights, starting from the condition he/she is living everyday on the job. • The learner develops his / her transversal competences in t
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