Partnership deal pays off for ETOL

Utilities firm ETOL is saving nearly £4m a year through its partnership

The company, bought by the now bankrupt Enron from ICI in 1999, set up its
agreement in 2000 in a bid to improve employee relations.

ETOL HR director George Ritchie told the AnUMan conference the agreement has
been so successful it saves the firm £3.8m a year.

The move has improved the company’s communication with union representatives
from the MSF and AEEU (now Amicus) and T&G, leading to greater transparency
of knowledge.

Ritchie said this allowed the unions to be involved in the problem-solving

The partnership agreement has resulted in a two-year pay freeze, increased
working hours, improved shift flexibility and an agreed redundancy programme.

"The plant needed a culture change," Ritchie explained.
"People on the ground did not feel they owned anything, nor did they trust
anyone including trade union officials. They were disconnected with what went

"When the plant was sold employees started to get more involved as
issues would be localised, so the buck could not be passed by the

He told delegates the success of the scheme has helped ETOL attract over
£26m in additional investment.

The firm has used some of this revenue to offer private medical insurance to
employees. It has also invested £500,000 in staff training and development.

In a bid to improve IT skills at the firm employees have also been given the
option of a free home computer and printer, for a £10 yearly lease.

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