This week’s letters

HR should embrace the chance to have Union Learning Reps

I think your recent News Barometer question – will union learning
representatives (ULRs) lead to clashes over training? – is wide of the mark
(News, 25 February).

Any open-minded HR professional should look upon ULRs as an attempt to
provide additional resources which could enhance the success of their business.

As the training officer of a large manufacturing company, I am working
closely with ULRs in improving the basic skills of our employees. Indeed, I
find it useful when putting forward new programmes and initiatives through the
unions – it seems to get a better response than if they had been proposed by

HR should embrace this new initiative. I would suggest that interested
parties visit the TUC learning services website at www.learningservices.org.uk, and
Amicus at www.aeeu.org.uk – the union
which is taking the lead on learning – where they will find more details on the
role of ULRs.

It is not a threat to our jobs, but an opportunity to provide a much
improved service to our customers.

David Grainger
via e-mail

Partnership is still high on HR agenda

Has partnership really slipped down the HR agenda as Personnel Today
suggests in its interesting comment on the review of the 1999 Employment
Relations Act (Editorial comment, 4 March)?

I would suggest that it is in fact increasingly becoming a widely accepted
part of HR practice.

The TUC Partnership Institute is continuing to expand rapidly, as more and
more employers and trade unions are entering into partnership agreements and
seeking our help in doing so.

The Employment Relations Minister is himself very supportive of partnership
working, as evidenced by the further expansion of the Partnership Fund.

Partnership working does require commitment from both sides, but the
evidence is that, especially where there have been long traditions of
bargaining, it pays enormous dividends to both employers and unions in terms of
the success of the enterprise and the protection of the staff.

Professor William Brown
Chair of the advisory board, TUC Partnership Institute

BskyB director lives on a different planet

Keeping my weekly Personnel Today in a pile at the end of my desk, as you
do, I gradually became more and more incensed by your front-page articles
regarding BSkyB and its attitude towards union recognition (News, 18 February
and 4 March).

I feel I must let off steam. What planet does the former group HR director
Craig McCoy think he is on? Here, in a nutshell, is a classic case of someone
bringing their profession into disrepute.

He goes wading in trying a one-man ‘clobber the unions’ campaign and
tramples all over his staff. In the quote from his letter, he suggests that:
union recognition leads to a drop off in productivity (where does he get this
‘fact’ from?) and hence the company will have to dump the workforce if they
vote for recognition. I am sure his ‘it’s your own fault we are sacking you’
attitude proved a real morale booster for his staff.

He – and a few more like him – are at the core of what is desperately wrong
within the business HR community. I just hope a new generation of HR
strategists will lead us forward, leaving behind the outdated attitudes and
cultures that McCoy’s type of management supports.

David Barry
Senior personnel officer, Legrand Electric

Cipd support letters pack a weak punch

There were four letters last week on the debate about the value the CIPD
offers (Letters, 18 March).

These included an institute employee, an academic, a branch chairperson and
a new HR practitioner. The first three defended the value of the institute and
its research, while the other wondered what she received for her subscription

At last someone – Ralph Tribe – has spoken up for those members who are more
interested in providing added value to their companies, than navel gazing about
the CIPD’s role.

Bill McAllister MCIPD,
Personnel manager, Aberdeen

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