Employers looking to cut trade union facility time should take account of the benefits union reps can provide in fostering staff well-being and job satisfaction. A positive attitude engendered by workplace reps is likely to contribute to higher productivity, lower staff turnover and lower absenteeism, the researchers say.
The study comprises a survey of members of general union Unite in the UK finance sector, some of whom work where there is an on-site union rep and some who do not. It suggests that those working where there is an on-site union rep are likely to feel better about their job.
John Earls, Unite’s head of research and co-author of the research, said that the current debate about facility time, which has tended to focus on the perceived “cost”, should also value and support the work of workplace reps, including collective and individual representation and giving advice and information.