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Trade Unions - Working in Partnership

The "Working in Partnership Programme" is led by Gary Ward who has years of experience of enabling unions and management to work together in partnership and manging and learning from conflict when it arises.

The concept of partnership working has been applied with varying degrees of success over recent times, with definitions being quite diverse.

Those that have been unsuccessful, tend to be ideological only, and without meaningful substance, but those that are successful, are practical, pragmatic, and facilitate positive outcomes for all parties.

At KHR, we help develop Partnership Working with the Trade Unions through the unique insight of Gary Ward, who leads our Working in Partnership Programme. During his 15 years with UNISON, Gary managed a local government branch of 6,000 TU members, was the East Midlands Regional Convenor, and also sat on UNISON's National Service Group Executive. He was responsible for negotiating with employers on terms and conditions of employment, and for managing guiding and supporting staff and members in accordance with national and regional policies and objectives.

As a result of this insight, we are better placed to develop positive and meaningful relationships with the Trade Unions, resulting in agreed resolutions for all parties, rather than costly and protracted disputes, and have also been able to anticipate problems before they manifest themselves, resulting in fewer operational difficulties at times of change across the organisation's that we support.

We can therefore help facilitate partnership working between management and the Trade Union side, and help our clients and the recognised Trade Unions develop a -

  • Joint commitment to the success of the organisation
  • Joint recognition of each other's legitimate interests
  • Joint commitment to employment security
  • Joint focus on the quality of working lives

As a result of such an approach, employees often show a stronger commitment to the goals of the business and increased flexibility in their approach to achieving these goals. In turn, the organisation is then more inclined to meaningfully listen to employee concerns, and to actively pursue policies to address such issues, resulting in reduced workplace conflict and timely and effective interventions.

In our experience, once a successful partnership approach is embedded across an organisation, essential changes can be implemented with assistance rather than resistance, issues are resolved ahead of both sides becoming entrenched in unwieldy grievance processes, absenteeism decreases, and recruitment and retention of high quality staff improves.

From the Trade Unions perspective, as a result of this approach they are able to demonstrate their influence across the workplace, increase their membership levels, train and elect representatives, and achieve successful outcomes for their members, resulting in meaningful Partnership Working, rather than one that is ideological or tokenistic.