Is the system of rules and procedures that govern the election and appointment of representatives, the allocation of resources, and the determination of policy within trade unions. Within most UK trade unions, the key institutions of internal government include a sovereign delegate conference that formally determines national policy, an elected executive that oversees the implementation of policy, and a staff of full-time officers, headed by a general secretary, that provides expertise and support to the executive. In addition, most unions have a system of local branches and intermediate levels of government consisting of regional committees and conferences and bodies that determine policy for a particular ‘trade group’; that is, members within a particular industrial sector. In large unions, the system of internal government can be extremely complex and can vary on a number of dimensions. It can be more or less centralized with decision-making concentrated in the hands of national leaders and institutions or devolved to local branches. It can also be bifurcated; that is, divided between procedures for determining policy for collective bargaining and for non-bargaining policy, such as the union's stance on political issues. Recent changes in union government in the UK have included the closer regulation of union democracy by statutes that require reliance on postal ballots and voluntary reform to allow for the expression of diverse interests amongst union members. For example, most unions in the UK now have separate women's committees and conferences and many have arrangements through which black workers, young workers, the disabled, and gays and lesbians can be consulted over and influence union policy. In the most ambitious of these attempts to represent diversity, unions have committed themselves to proportionate representation for women members and have introduced self-organization for women and members of minorities.
Subjects: Human Resource Management.