As the compulsory Trade Union Recognition Act came into force last week a flurry of voluntary union partnerships with employers were announced.
Unions struck the deals with companies from different business sectors to avoid costly and time-consuming legal arguments and ballots.
The AEEU announced two partnership deals with Birmingham-based Maersk Air and Gatwick’s GB Airways in agreements covering more than 400 employees.
The GB partnership will establish new consultative forums to address employment issues and encourage contribution from employees to the company’s strategic development.
Barclays announced it has signed an agreement with Unifi on behalf of 2,500 call centre workers.
John Cridland, the CBI’s deputy director general, said, “Successful partnerships between employers and employees result from voluntary commitment to shared objectives. They cannot be imposed on unwilling participants through an adversarial process.”
The Open University is another employer which has recognised a trade union on a voluntary basis. In a deal with Unison it allows members to get free OU courses.
A specially-designed course for Unison members will give students credits towards a qualification, certificate, diploma or degree.