Managers are starting to view union officials and shop stewards as allies in helping to implement workplace change, according to research by the Economic & Social Research Council.
The research, called Future of Collectivism, shows that unions are becoming more business focused and “useful” to employers. Union officials also felt that many employers are becoming more positive about unions.
Professor William Brown, author of the report, said, “A convergence of interests has occurred, spurred by both legal changes and competitive pressures.”
Employers are using unions to facilitate difficult organisational change, while at the same time trying to restrict trade union influence on traditional issues such as pay setting, claims the report.
The research is based on interviews with 60 companies, 34 union officials and 15 industry body representatives.