Impact of Global Competition on Trade Unions

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To what extent does global competition undermine the power of trade unions? The development of free-market economics has, since the 18th century, resulted in the spread of a set of ideas, creeds and practices all over the developed and much of the developing world. Today, the globalisation of trade, capital, technology and innovation has accelerated competitive conditions for businesses all over the world. Globalisation may be defined as the opening of markets to the forces of neoliberalism and capitalism; it is characterised by the free movement of people, talent, skills, capital (intellectual, social and economic) across international borders. All kinds of barriers have either been swept away, diffused or made obsolete by the forces of…show more content…
As global competition has intensified in the last thirty or so years, companies are increasingly looking to cut costs through outsourcing business functions, units and operations. Cheaper labour and business costs pull businesses away from developed economies to developing markets such as China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, and so on. Technological advancements also mean that businesses need to operate 24/7, seven days a week and e-commerce is inevitable for any company that wants to survive and thrive. The 'virtual' corporation (Davidow and Malone, 1993) has become common. It is built on a global invisible network of relationships, suppliers, distributors and contractors, all coordinated out of an office somewhere in the world. The human worker at the heart of such an enterprise is in a very different position to someone working in a factory to company a hundred or two hundred years ago. Stable relationships, hierarchical orders, lines of command, even the predictable routines of work, rest, and so on have all but disappeared in the networked economy. Outsourcing clearly affects workers whose jobs and pay rely on those functions which have now been outsourced. Further, such developments negatively affect morale among workers who may still have jobs in-house but who are nervous about whether they, too, face redundancy and reduced hours and, therefore, reduced pay. Trade
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