Sound Trade Union Management

Establishment of a Management System

Sound trade union management is built on a good management system. A trade union should establish an institutional and systematic management framework for its affairs to be developed and conducted effectively.

Apart from complying with the Trade Unions Ordinance (TUO), the rules of a trade union should also set adequate boundaries for the administration and management of the trade union. In addition, a trade union may need to make various rules such as standing orders in conducting meetings, election models, complaint procedures and so on, as appropriate, for its Executive Committees to follow when handling union affairs and developing the union.

Elements of Sound Trade Union Management

Being elected by members and hence entrusted to handle routine union affairs, trade unions officers should endeavour to carry out their duties faithfully for their trade unions to develop. Sound trade union management carries the following elements:

  • Knowledge of relevant legislation - Trade union officers should have a good grasp of legislation relating to union operation, such as the TUO, so that their unions are managed without infringing the law.
  • Abide by the rules - Trade union officers should familiarize themselves with the rules of their unions to ensure that union affairs are conducted according to what have been stipulated.
  • Fairness – Trade union members should have the rights and obligations accorded to them by the rules.
  • Transparency - The management of a trade union should be highly transparent so that members may keep track of the union’s development and monitor its operation.
  • Open-mindedness – Trade unions should have good communication channels in place to enable members to express their views. An Executive Committee should adopt an open-mind in listening to the views of the members and offer responses actively. Good interaction with members provides for effective union management.
  • Sound financial management - A good financial management system enables the Executive Committee to have a better grasp of the financial position of the trade union. It also facilitates the officers responsible for managing financial matters in compiling the annual accounts at the end of each financial year for the auditing by the auditor and endorsement at the general meeting.
  • Regular review - Trade unions should regularly review their union rules and evaluate the operation of union affairs with a view to making timely improvements, so that the rules are able to deal with the development of the union and facilitate its smooth operation.
  • Autonomy - Trade unions are autonomous bodies. Employees unions should not be subject to any interference from employers in their establishment, functioning or administration, and vice versa for employers trade unions. In particular, employers should not attempt to promote the establishment of employees unions under their domination, or to support employees unions by financial or other means, with the object of placing such organisations under their control.

To help trade union officers acquire knowledge of trade union legislation and fundamental account management, the Registry of Trade Unions conducts from time to time various kinds of courses. The timetables of these courses are distributed to all registered trade unions so that those who are interested may enroll.