Modernbusiness needs to create a partnership with all employees that will relegatetrade unions to a supportive role, according to Beverly Shears, HR director ofSouth West Trains.Atthe HR Forum aboard the Aurora last week, she locked horns with Rory Murphy,joint general secretary of finance union Unifi, over trade union partnershipswith business.Shesaid that while industrial relations were traditionally adversarial, the reallyimportant relationship should be between staff and management, not unions andmanagement.”Ibelieve in trade unions supporting people when the distribution of power isoff,” she said. “But what a trade union says it wants may not be thesame as what staff want.”Theirmachineries are not for everyone, only trade union members. Employers have aduty to support and listen to everyone,” she added. “You don’trepresent everybody at your peril.”Shearssaid bosses should have a professional relationship with unions and apartnership with staff, while Murphy argued trade unions should be at thecentre of business as the consultants of the 21st century, balancing theprotection of staff with the profit and growth of the company.Hedrew delegates’ attention to Unifi’s life-long learning programmes, which hesaid were the best in the UK.Hesaid employers must realise unions had come a long way since the miners strikeand ‘the winter of discontent’, and did not have ‘flat caps and whippets downour trousers’.”Whilethings don’t remain perfect, there is still a role for the trade unions toplay,” Murphy said. “Nobody’s looking for trouble, but actions ofemployers drive employees to distraction.”Ihave to remind companies that nothing militates a worker more than acompany.” Unifi v SWT in union-partnership debateOn 11 May 2004 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed.