As I see it, the mix of traditional roles will continue but certain new roles are going to assume significance. The most significant change in the IR scene over the years is the slow decline in unionisation and this trend will continue. The fertile soil for growth of trade unions is the extent of unskilled/semiskilled workforce in the organised sector and with more and more automation and privatisation this component is likely to go down. Another serious dimension is the erosion of leadership in the trade union ranks and hence the average worker has lesser confidence on the unions of their capability for resolving the issues to their satisfaction.The personal image of many leaders have taken a beating and as such in many areas there are no role models. The general decline in moral standards has taken a severe toll in the trade union leadership.
Though the fragmentation of unions continue and would continue further in future but there would be joint movement of two or more unions joining hands on specific issues in many areas.
Judiciary which had earlier lend a sympathetic ear to the union causes have turned the corner and now a more balanced perspective, keeping the interests of the industry as prime is likely to prevail.
The one cause for worry is the politicisation of unions and the political manipulations indulged by the union leadership. Managements have to be beware of the politician-bureaucrat nexus and their attempts to manipulate the situations.
As more and more competition grows up most managements are likely to realise the futility of a confrontatinist approach instead would opt for mutual compromises. Developing a 'win-win' formula would be the challenge for HR professionals.
These random thoughts struck me at the first instance Regards KK Nair
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