The return of workplace collectivism?

Today I came across quite a refreshing article in the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development's People Management magazine. Written by Hashi Syedain and entitled Put out of joint the article considers the legacy of the disappearance of unions from the employment relations landscape.

Nearly 30 years ago workplace collectivism, mostly in the form of trade unionism, was seen as a major contributor to Britain's failing economy and level of productivity. Strangely, though, swathes of British industry are now union free, yet serious problems concerning productivity persist.

What I like about the article is a sense that those of the management fraternity are beginning to realise that depriving workers of the right to a collective voice and a right to be consulted about organizational change could play a part in productivity. Perhaps a time is upon us where managers no longer need to assume that consulting with employees is a sign of weakness. Moreover, it may signal a time where workers can have the chance once more to be able to express grievances without the fear of retribution.

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