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Economic and management sciences

Grade 8

The economic cycle

Module 4

Trade unions

Assessment standard 1.4:

Trade unions

When you have completed this section, you wIll be able to do an analysis of the role, rights and responsibilities of trade unions.

What is a trade union?

  • A trade union is an association of employees who have common interests and have formed an organisation with the purpose of protecting and promoting their interests through collective negotiation with their employers . The process of negotiation between a trade union and an employer is known as bargaining. Employees who join a trade union pay membership fees. The amount is determined by the regulations of the trade union and in many cases the employee’s wages or salary.

Members of a trade union who are employed at the same workplace or live in the same environment form a local branch of the trade union. Each branch elects a trade union representative who acts as spokesperson. The member who is elected to the position is known as the representative or shop steward. Members of large trade unions also elect regional representatives and a national management committee – a committee that acts on behalf of its members. The national management committee is usually elected at an annual conference of the trade union at which delegates from all the regional branches are present.

Trade unions are directed towards protecting the rights of the employees. Problems may occur from time to time in any working environment. When this happens, the employee needs someone to protect his interests or present his case. Trade unions provide their members with legal advice, as well as someone who can present the member’s case, act on behalf of all employees and has the support of the national committee.

What can the employee expect from his trade union?

  • To engage in negotiations with the employer with regard to remuneration, work hours, holidays, the method of payment, allowances, overtime pay and retirement and pension benefits.
  • To represent the employee during negotiations when serious problems develop at work, e.g. when the employee claims to have been treated or disciplined unfairly, or that his complaints have not received due consideration.
  • To negotiate improved working conditions, e.g. when the employee is exposed to health and safety risks such as harmful gases, dangerous machinery, or even inadequate toilet facilities.
  • To negotiate protection for the employee when there is a threat of dismissal or redundancy.
  • To assist in matters related to unemployment insurance.
  • To ensure that part-time employees are treated fairly. As a member of the trade union, the employee is also entitled to other benefits, such as legal advice and legal representation, certain cash benefits and other services, as well as the opportunity to attend trade union training courses.

Trade union organisations are divided into four types:

  • Trade unions for GENERAL WORKERS, representing all kinds of employees across a wide front, both skilled and unskilled, e.g. the Transport and General Workers Union.
  • Trade unions for TRADESMEN, representing employees with particular skills such as cabinet-makers, etc.
  • Trade unions for INDUSTRIAL WORKERS, representing skilled and unskilled workers in a particular industry, e.g. employees in the paper- and pulp-manufacturing industry.
  • Trade unions for WHITE-COLLAR WORKERS, representing employees who are not involved in manual-skills occupations, e.g. teachers.

Activity 1


List FIVE advantages and FIVE disadvantages associated with trade unions. Discuss each of the advantages and disadvantages in detail. Do you think there is any benefit in belonging to a trade union? Would you consider becoming a member of a trade union when you start working? Each group must present its points of view to the class.

Activity 2


A friend of yours is about to start a new job. He cannot decide whether to join a trade union or not.

Write him a letter and explain your point of view on the matter.


Select any trade union and find out all you can about it, e.g. how well they are organised; whether they support a particular political party; if so, in what way; whether they have been involved in marches or strikes, and when. Present some of the information on a poster, and then on two A4 pages (typed.)

NOTE: also use newspaper articles for your poster.


Learning Outcomes (LOs)

LO 1

the economic cycle

The learner will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the economic cycle within the context of ‘the economic problem’.

Assessement Standards(ASs)

This is evident when the learner:

describes the historical development of money and its role in societies and their economies;

discusses how trade (import and export) addresses the economic problem (choice and opportunity cost), as well as the role of banks in investing in the economy;

explains how different economic systems address the economic problem (e.g. planned, market and mixed economies);

discusses the role, rights and responsibilities of trade unions;

discusses the role, rights and responsibilities of trade unions;


ACTIVITY 1: Trade unions

Evaluate initiative and ingenuity regarding advantages and disadvantages.

ACTIVITY2: Trade unions

Evaluate points of view as stated in the letter.


Evaluate the research, presentation and opinions as presented.

Questions & Answers

what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Economic and management sciences grade 8. OpenStax CNX. Sep 11, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11040/1.1
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