Union-HR relations stay positive, but dissent grows

British union reps and human resources professionals enjoy a largely positive working relationship, although the union side believes things have got worse in the last five years, according to a survey by Personnel Today and the Trade Union Congress.

by Personnel Today, TUC
Last Updated: 23 Jul 2013

On a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is total breakdown and 10 excellent, HR professionals rated their relationship with the union at 6.7. For the trade union reps it averaged 5.6.

Nearly half of union reps said their view of the HR department had worsened in the last five years, while only 20% said HR had improved over the period.

HR professionals were more positive about their union colleagues - 33% said the unions had improved, against 23% who said they had got worse.

Just under half of union reps felt that management valued their role, while a surprisingly low 16% felt the same was true of the government's attitude to unions.

Yet more than nine out of 10 union reps felt that their career prospects had been hampered by their involvement in union activity.

More than half of HR professionals agreed that unions were an essential part of modern industrial relations and a ‘force for good'. Slightly more than a third thought being a union rep would damage someone's career prospects.

Only 47% of union reps agreed that HR was professional in its approach to employee relations, while 58% on the HR side agreed the main union was professional in its approach. But 43% of HR professionals thought union reps got involved in issues that did not concern them.

More than 500 union reps and almost 600 HR professionals took part in the survey.

Union reps sacrifice careers for employee champion role

Review by Joe Gill


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