Unions are becoming increasingly prevalent across Asia. As the second of a two-part series on this topic, we consider the extent of union involvement in Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan.
WHICH ASPECTS OF THE EMPLOYMENT RELATIONSHIP CAN UNIONS BE INVOLVED IN?
Trade unions are usually involved in negotiating with employers on collective bargaining agreements, which usually set out the provisions crucial to the employees' employment conditions. These include job security, criteria and conditions concerning termination of employment, employers' management powers, increase or reduction in wages, welfare and benefit, improvement of work environment and work rules and regulations.
Trade unions may also participate in other labour related activities, e.g. economic layoff of groups of employees, if this is provided for in the relevant collective bargaining agreement.
Trade unions are quite protective of their members and play an extensive role in Indonesia. Trade unions are usually involved in negotiating collective labour agreements, approval of work rules and employers' compliance of minimum wage and outsourcing issues.
Trade unions are also involved in individual termination cases involving their members. They can represent employees in bipartite negotiation with employers.
SOUTH KOREA Trade unions are usually involved in collective bargaining and daily routine activities, including issues regarding job security and workers' participation in management and welfare issues.
Trade unions also participate in the approval of work rules and regulations and wage negotiations. In addition, trade unions may get involved in approving disciplinary sanctions for employees if this is provided for in the relevant collective agreement.
Trade unions are usually involved in negotiations with employers in relation to union security and labour agreements, wages, working conditions and management employment and personnel matters. In particular, this includes the conclusion, revision and effectuation of collective agreements, revision of wages, working hours, days off and holidays, work environment and health management, and objection to dismissal and reinstatement of dismissed employees.
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