Related posts:No related photos. Thereis bound to be a hue and cry about the Government’s move to create and fund aTrade Union Academy to train union representatives to university level.Why,many will ask, should train unionists have an edge in negotiations withemployers? And why, some are already asking, should we have to fork out time,and therefore money, to accommodate trade union representatives undergoingtraining?Because,quite simply, the stand-offs and distrust between trade unions and employerscannot stay the way they are. If the new academy delivers well-rounded coursesthat give unionists a better understanding of business and allows them to talkat least a similar language to employers, then the greater prize will be betteremployee consultation, engagement, motivation and, ultimately, higherproductivity.Unionshave an big part to play in staff consultation. Yetfew display real business skills. Until this changes,the decline in employers using them to communicate with staff on major issueswill continue. See the results of Cranfield School ofManagement’s latest Cranet Survey.Modernisation is the key to successfulunion actionAtthe HR Forum on board the Aurorain May, there was a lone trade unionist mingling with HR’smost senior professionals. Rory Murphy, joint general secretary of Unifi – newly merged with Amicus to form one of the UK’sbiggest unions – took the platform to debate trade union partnerships withbusiness.Heargued that trade unions should be at the centre of business as the consultantsof the 21st century. He said he understood that unions had to become partnerswith employers to improve the lot of employees.Murphymakes sense. It’s a shame there are not more unionists like him. Unions have tomodernise if they are to do their job properly. They could start by beingproactive.If,for example, those unions representing staff at British Airways had taken thelead and helped to devise good people strategies when the organisationprivatised, would there still be endlessly recurring industrial disputes of thelikes we’re witnessing today? Quite possibly not.By Penny Wilson Training for union reps will be cash well spentOn 24 Aug 2004 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed.