Utilities group in five union deal on staff consultation

United Utilities hopes a partnership deal brokered with five unions will aid
business and prepare it for the EC Information and Consultation Directive.

The water and electricity services company has signed an agreement with five
trade unions to provide a basis for collective bargaining on behalf of all its
4,200 employees in service delivery, the company’s operational business.

Nick Rowe, head of human resources, said the company realises it needs to
work closely with employees and unions and this would not be possible without
an agreement.

"It makes business change and working together easier," he said.
"With ad hoc agreements you can’t move quickly enough."

The deal was developed over the past 12 months, with advice from Acas.

From March 2005 the EC Information and Consultation Directive will give
employees the right to be informed and consulted on major business issues such
as redundancies and restructuring.

The directive is likely to have a radical effect on the way UK employers
manage and communicate with their workforces.

Rowe said having a partnership agreement in place will help the company
fulfil its obligations under the directive.

The unions signed up to the deal are: Unison, Amicus, GMB, T&G and
Prospect.

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