Labour Research June 2009

Union news

“Modern reps can deliver gains”

The CBI employers’ organisation has joined with the TUC and the government in extolling the virtues of union reps in the workplace.

A document called Reps in action includes a statement signed by the heads of all three organisations, saying that “modern representatives have a lot to give their fellow employees and to the organisations that employ them.”

The document sets out seven case studies in the private sector where union reps and employers have worked together to address a particular issue. According to the statement, they show how “modern union representatives can deliver real gains at the workplace”.

Some of the case studies focus on the role of the traditional union rep “illustrating how they can act as agents of change”, while in others the issue has been handled by specialist union reps, such as environmental reps. A similar publication is being produced on the ways lay union reps and managers can deliver positive change in the public sector.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber welcomed the publication, saying: “Union reps can be a vital resource not only for unions and their members but also for the organisations that employ them.”

He said the business benefits of a union presence at work add further weight to the case for union equality reps and union green reps being given new legal rights.