Time for union body to opt for partnership

Sometimes
you have to stop doing your busy job and really think about essentials. That’s
not to say urgent business and other people’s demands must not be met – they
must. There comes a moment, however, in everyone’s career when you have to
think big – and the biggest question is what am I doing here?

It’s
the same for trade union officials. 
Just like every manager I know, we have to ask ourselves "Is this
what I do? Do I want to be associated with this organisation?  Can I look at myself in the mirror every
morning?"

For
us in Amicus-AEEU, the current election campaign of Sir Ken Jackson has
provided just such a moment. In the middle of all my work on Lifelong Learning,
the information and consultation directive, partnership and productivity, I am
asking if the union is going the way I want it to go as an individual member
for 28 years, never mind as a full-time official.

It’s
probably no surprise to you that my choice in this election helps me to define,
personally, the sort of relationships at work that I believe Ken Jackson and my
union stands for.  We actually believe
that partnership means a new self-confidence for our members at work.

It
is not a sell-out. It is not a sweetheart, deferential approach to employers as
extreme left wingers have levelled at us through their accusations .

Partnership
means a new way for workers to win respect from their managers. This respect is
basedon the positive contributions we can make to successful companies. We have
moved on from an employer’s respect based simply on fear of us as trade unions
– on our power of veto over managerial initiatives.

For
us as a union – and for me personally as one of its advocates -our union is
busy being constructive, not destructive. We stand for supporting British
industry, not whingeing at it from the sidelines.

I
know that managers often find our internal culture – our politics and elections
– a frustrating diversion. Our gossip is all about ourselves at factory level
and national level alike.

However,
I beseech HR managers to be patient with us. Periodically, we need these messy,
noisy, controversial outbreaks of argument and campaigning. They give us the
opportunity to relaunch our general direction with power and authority.

They
underpin our members’ collective choice of the type of relationships at work
they seek for themselves.

For
all our members and their officials, this election and every election is about
the future of work at your workplace.

I
hope our members’ experience of you, as an employer, makes them choose partnership
rather than confrontation. I am sure they will.

By
John Lloyd, National officer, Amicus

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