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Labour Unions
updated by rck, 2005-01-20

Here's a summary for the Business English 1 lectures I've been attending this term. Today is the end-test, so it's a bit late. Then again, we did that topic last week so it's not as late as it might seem.

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When everything fails.

So what happens, as soon the company and the union can't get a consensus? The union can't fire the company, can it?

No, it can't but it has a couple of weapons it can use.

Union Weapons.

strike is the most known union weapon

“Concerted” work stoppage. This only works, if all workers put down their tools.
Sick out
A strike that's not a strike. All call in sick. Usefull, where striking is not allowed
Signs are held up expressing that they are not satisfied. Very useful in conjunction with television.
Don't buy product X. If people really don't buy a companies products for a while, the company will have to shut down.
Work to rule
Check everything like it is supposed to be checked. For example, drive around with a finished car a whole 60 km instead of only 500 meters.


What does management do? There are a couple of possibilities.

If they don't want to work, don't let them in.
Hire strikebreakers
If they don't want to work, hire someone else to do the work. has to be agreed by a judge and could end up with violence. Caterpillar had two situations in 2004 where they had to hire strike breakers -- very bad.
Mutual aid-pact
Another company helps out
The ultimate weapon. Workers wouldn't even get pensions payed that way. General Motors for example has more people getting pension than people working!

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