Union-busting consultants used to scare workers away from unions, TUC warns

UK employers are increasingly hiring “union-busting” consultants to persuade workers not to join trade unions, the TUC has warned.

The trade union said employers were using scare tactics to keep workplaces union-free, and are hiring US-style consultants to persuade workers not to join trade unions.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “The underhand tactics employed in the shadowy world of the union-busting consultant are proving increasingly attractive to a handful of employers in the UK.

“Good employers realise the safety, communication and training benefits of having a union at work, and many actively encourage their staff to join a union.

“But there is a small minority of bosses who fear the voice a union would give their employees, and will do almost anything to keep the union out. This is a US export that UK workplaces could well do without,” Barber said.

The TUC has joined forces with its US equivalent, the AFL-CIO, to highlight the concerns. It coincides with a TUC-commissioned study by John Logan of the London School of Economics, which warns that the activities of such consultants are likely to be more widespread than most unions realise.

It found that in the US, only 7.5% of the private sector workforce are members of a union, although UK laws are stricter on employers that violate workers’ rights.

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