Unions ‘can have positive effect on finances’

Partnership agreements between management and trade unions can have a
positive impact on the financial performance of firms during times of economic
turbulence, according to a new report.

The research from the Policy Studies Institute, which was commissioned by
the DTI, also finds that trade unions have no adverse affect on workplace
performance or the industrial relations climate.

The study, Collective Bargaining and Workplace Performance, is based on data
collected since 1998 covering 3,000 managers and almost 30,000 employees.

If staff think managers are taking unions seriously it improves the
perception of employee relations – even if the unions are not officially

However, there is a massive gap between management and staff over the state
of employee relations, with 90 per cent of employers rating the climate as good
or very good, compared to only 55 per cent of staff.

The report’s co-author, Alex Bryson of the Policies Studies Institute, said:
"Our research showed employer orientations to unions and union membership
played an important role in determining workplace performance.

"Managerial support for and a preparedness to engage seriously with
unions brings rewards in terms of an improved industrial relations


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