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Union crackdown could affect workplace productivity, study shows

News | Unions | NHS | HR

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A crackdown on unions in the UK could have a damaging impact on productivity, a new study has suggested.

Research from professors of HR Management, Nick Bacon, from Cass Business School, and Kim Hoque, from Warwick Business School found that sector workforces performed better when a union representative was present in the workplace.

The study suggested that reducing trade union facility time is set to have a detrimental effect on British workforces, particularly in the public sector where unions have membership and support.

Findings show 38 per cent of public sector workplaces have an on-site union representative, in comparison to 26 per cent in the private sector. 

It was found that, among NHS workplaces, labour turnover was nearly three times higher, whereas the industrial tribunal rate 14 times higher in NHS workplaces without union representatives in comparison to when representatives were there.

Nick Bacon, from Cass Business School, and Kim Hoque, from Warwick Business School, said: “The steps laid out by the government do not appear to take into account evidence, using data the government itself has sponsored, pointing to the positive effects that workplace trade union representatives have in the public sector.

“Both full and part-time workplace union representatives help improve performance in the public sector and managers widely recognise this to be the case.”

Mr Bacon explained that the proposed legislation to limit the amount of time union representatives can spend on their duties appears needless and may have a negative impact on workplace performance in the public sector. 

Unions provide employees with a safety net in the event that they are mistreated by their manager, but the planned government crackdown could stop workers from feeling at ease in their job.


Posted by Jon Aspinell on 22nd July 2015

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