Supersize union brigade has lost sight of member needs

We have much to be concerned about with the news that the UK’s first super-union is to come into being in 2007 (Personnel Today, 23 August).

Having worked with a variety of different unions in public sector roles, the maxim ‘big is beautiful’ does not apply to the concept of union involvement.

I worked with MSF before it was absorbed into Amicus and it was clear that union members were being ill-served by their union’s rapid expansion. Gone was the contact that local representatives had with their regional representatives, and gone was any interest that the union had in supporting its members. The union representatives actually didn’t understand what the issues were as they were too far removed.

Even more worrying was their inability to sign up new members who were being encouraged to join. If they cannot recruit from a compliant pool of willing people, then how are they ever to be a force again?

Effective HR management should negate the need for unions at a local level and maybe they have woken up to accept that this is all that lies ahead. So perhaps it is not such a surprise that the unions see their future with one or two other super unions all trying to influence the party of power.

Guy Pink
HR director and chairman of the London HR Connection


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