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Warwick Papers in Industrial Relations No. 101
University of Warwick, Industrial Relations Research Unit, Coventry
This paper explores the presence of workplace union representatives in the British public sector, and also the extent to which union representatives are engaged in partnership working with management, drawing on data from the Workplace Employment Relations Survey 2011. This analysis is timely given government plans to introduce reporting requirements and reserve powers to restrict public sector facility time in the Trade Union Bill 2015-16. The analysis finds that in workplaces with union recognition, union representatives are more prevalent and there are more representatives per employee in the public than the private sector, but there is no evidence that this should be viewed as excessive or that managers view it as problematic. There is, on balance, greater evidence of partnership working between union representatives and managers in the public than the private sector. Given the importance of partnership working in improving public services, the results suggest the provisions in the Trade Union Bill 2015-16 relating to public sector facility time are more likely to hinder rather than support public sector managers in their attempts to improve public service provision in the future.
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Working Paper

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