Most private sector workers find union representatives ‘demotivating’

Chief executives and supervisors are “actively inspiring” employees despite the tough economic climate, while trade union representatives are considered “demotivating”, new research shows.

A global study of 1,400 workers in large firms – including 499 UK employees – found that 80% of British workers considered their trade union representative a “turn off”.

Over a quarter (27%) found them demotivating, yet more than half (56%) of the employees found their colleagues inspiring and 52% thought the same of their CEO.

The findings come as AstraZeneca staff threaten to strike over pensions and follows a summer which has seen British Airways beset by industrial action.

Chris Hart, a partner with consultancy McKinney Rogers, which commissioned the research, said the findings paint a very positive picture for many large businesses.

“Given the hard times since the credit crunch, this is good news and indicates that employees in Britain and many of the world’s top businesses are getting strong and inspiring leadership – whether from the top of the organisation, their boss or their colleagues.”

He added: “It also has a stark wake-up to unions. They are currently an active turn-off to many workers in the private sector and are seen as far less inspiring than management.

“There is very limited appetite amongst employees in the private sector for the messages from union representatives – unions certainly need to avoid industrial action if they are going to motivate and attract members in the private sector.”

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