The promise of partnership
Some experience from the UK
‘Partnership’ is a word that crops up with increasing frequency in government, trade union and management circles in the UK. For many it neatly embodies both the practice and sentiment of the so-called ‘third way’. In the workplace, a partnership approach to industrial relations has been offered as a neo-pluralist alternative to the unitarism of Human Resources Management. The Trades Union Congress (TUC) is an active proponent of partnership and the government has created a fund to support the development of partnership at the workplace. This article sketches some theoretical underpinning for the practice of partnership. To shed some light on the prospects for partnership it draws on recent UK experience and includes a case study of the development of a partnership between UNISON, the UK’s largest trade union, and Vertex Data Sciences, one of the fastest growing call centre operators in the UK.
Keywords: partnership, trade unions, social dialogue, collective bargaining, trust
Published online: 08 April 2002