Union deal gives Co-op Bank more flexible attitude

A partnership agreement bet-ween management and unions at the Co-operative
Bank has led to improved industrial relations and profitability, delegates were
told at the conference last week.

Tony Britten, director of HR and planning at the Co-op Bank, explained that
through the partnership, project teams were established which developed a range
of family-friendly and equal opportunity policies.

As a result, the company moved from fixed to variable pay, introduced
family-friendly and flexible working policies, reward schemes and new ways of
dealing with change.

Britten said, "The teams made up of management and union reps have
taken these sort of issues beyond legislation and brought about fundamental

Initiated in 1997, the partnership deal has been extended to 2003. "It
has reduced the time spent by HR in having to deal with employee
relations," explained Britten.

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