However, regardless of the size of the organisation, it is advisable for employers to have effective systems for providing information and consultations with employees on a periodic basis (ACAS, 2005). This is particularly critical for small companies that are growing at a fast rate and need to have systems in place for employee engagement as is the case with the company under consideration.
One form of employee representation is trade unions. Trade unions are associations of employees. Trade union is “an organization of workers that aims to protect and advance the interests of its members” (BIS, 2009). Their objective is to sustain and enhance the terms and conditions of work for their members. This is done through collective bargaining with employers. Recognition of the trade union by the company is very important for collective bargaining. Collective bargaining takes place when the trade union negotiates with the employer on behalf of the employees on matters regarding pay and other terms and conditions of employment. Trade unions are of four types: company union, general/industrial union, craft union and white collar union (Cole, 2003). Company union represent the employees in a single company. General or Industrial union represents employees from several companies belonging to the same industry. Craft union represents skilled workers in a specific field. White collar union represent white collar employees e.g., teachers and professors.
Trade unions are set up to protect and promote the interests of employees. The existence of a trade union reduces the possibilities of industrial conflict (Dillon, 2009). Trade unions play a vital role in effective communication between management and employees. They provide the support system to ensure that the differences of opinion do not turn into major conflicts. Trade unions play an