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Trade unions are organisations made up of members of which the membership must be made up mainly of workers. One of trade unions main aims is to protect and advance the interests of its members in the workplace. Most trade unions are independent of any employer. However, trade unions try to develop close working relationships with employers. This can sometimes take the form of a partnership agreement between the employer and the trade union which identifies their common interests and objectives.
Industrial democracy has its origins in the theories of Kurt Lewin who strongly advocated the idea that the management of change requires full participation from those affected by change. Workers, trade unions, management and governments, perceive increased worker participation in corporate decision-making quite differently. To workers it can represent a way to reduce alienation, restore some dignity to work life, and increase control over decisions which affect their environment. To trade unions it may represent an opportunity to increase their power over decisions affecting their members. To employers it may represent a key answer to productivity, and quality control problems. It may also constitute a governmental strategy to improve the economy and reduce social tensions. Obviously, these reasons for the interest in increased worker participation of each of the labour market parties can be threatening to the other parties.
Trade unions play a vital role of negotiating agreements with employers on pay and conditions; discussing major changes to the workplace such as large scale redundancy; discussing members’ concerns with employers; accompanying members in disciplinary and grievance meetings; providing members with legal and financial advice and providing education facilities and certain consumer benefits such as discounted insurance
From the perspective of the individual worker, the different forms of participation serve different needs and interests. Effective management will only be possible if these different needs and interests are explicitly recognised in organizational policies and practices. Workers desire input into decisions through which they are personally affected. More influence is desired over personal than administrative decisions and over administrative rather than major policy decisions.

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