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Union heralds a new partnership between employer and worker

first_imgSir Ken Jackson believes that new super-union Amicus will change the shapeof employment relationsA new union with a million members opened for business on New Year’s Day. Two unions have merged – the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union(AEEU) and the Manufacturing, Science, Finance (MSF) – to create Amicus. Amicus is the ancient word for friend, supporter, partner and wisecounsellor. We shall be membership based, relying on an industrial structure ofworkplace-based activists, with huge conferences and ballots of the membersbacking up day-to-day activist democracy. The new union has a huge mandate of support with members voting by more thanfour to one to set up Amicus in a massive ballot. What will be the implications of our new union for the HR profession? Most importantly, we shall have the resources to support our workplacerepresentatives. They will need a new depth of support to give our membersauthoritative advice on the many issues thrown up by the global economy.Accomplished and confident reps are needed in the modern process ofconsultation, with managers needing to be coolly challenged on theirunderstanding of the business by staff who have the company’s future at heart. Amicus will also have the best trade union education service in the UK andthe best research, pensions, lifelong learning and lobbying facilitiesavailable. Our assets are valued at more than £100m and our annual income will exceed£66m. We include over 110 MPs and MEPs as members. The new union expects to build on more than 200 AEEU and MSF recognitionsuccesses, which in 2001 included companies as diverse as Virgin Atlantic,Tibbett and Britten, Penguin Books, Saudi Arabian Airlines and Honda. Amicus’ breadth of appeal is based on the positive competencies we can bringto the party. We don’t instinctively trade on managers’ petty tyrannies – realor imagined – but prefer to trade on our practical services. All of this is available to the employers we deal with. We shall be theunion of partnership both with employers and employees. Our partnership approach is not a tactical manoeuvre, but a preferred way ofindustrial life. It is not a new word for deference either. Partnership will promotemutual help, respect and deliver better work from people because they feelvalued. One of our biggest challenges will be to boost productivity through skillsdevelopment. Our representatives will all be taking advantage of skills andprofessional development at every level of business. We shall do our bit and spend around £4m of our own money to show companiesthat our dedication to skills reform is not just rhetoric. The newly launched union is not the finished article. We are already inmerger talks with other British unions that will make us the biggest union inthe UK. Our structures are robust enough to welcome every group into our fold. Everyone of our initial 21 industrial groups will have its own consultationprocesses, yet every group will be able to call on the best full-time officersand general support services available. As the largest affiliate of the Labour Party, we have immense politicalinfluence in Brussels and Whitehall alike. With professional and skilled members in both the private sector and publicservices, we effectively represent the attitudes of the UK workplace – we areBritain in microcosm. We are determined that our new strength is placed at thedisposal of this country’s economic reform and future success. I am looking forward to introducing Britain’s management teams to Amicus –your new friend. Sir Ken Jackson is joint general secretary of Amicus www.aeeu.org.ukwww.msf.org.uk Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Union heralds a new partnership between employer and workerOn 8 Jan 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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