Reflection on the role of trade unions in upholding democracy in the workplace, South Africa
The central aim of this article was to analyze the role of trade unions in upholding democracy in the workplace. It further determines the significance of trade unions in promoting democracy. In this contextual and conceptual article, a trade union is distinct as a group of employees’ whose main purpose is to control the relationship between employees and employers, including any employers’ organization. It is argued in this article that the role of trade unions is to protect and represent the interest of its constituency in the workplace. Trade unions seek to ensure that there is democratic relationship between employer(s) and employees by ensuring healthy work environment. The article adopted the Unitary Theory (UT) initiated Alan Fox in 1966. Unitary Theory establishes the understanding of the roles of trade unions based on the functionalist tradition. To achieve the purpose of this article, the author adopted a qualitative research approach whereby secondary data has been extensively utilized. This article concludes by recommending that trade unions should operate independent from the ruling party, so that elected government or employer(s) can effectively be held accountable for their actions without biasness.
Keywords: Trade unions, democracy, workplace and South Africa