It is easy to see partnership as little more than re-labelling of activities that have been part of collective union/management relations for several years. However, in the changing political environment since the election of the Labour government, it is potentially more important. The partnership is the first initiative in many years, strongly supported and even led by trade unions, who see it as an opportunity to reaffirm their contribution to a healthy economy. This view is indirectly confirmed in the criticisms of some prominent employers who fear that it will reintroduce trade unionism “by backdoor means”. We aspire to a collaborative relationship within the trust that reflects a positive and constructive relationship, typical of a true partnership model in which employees say they feel valued and engaged. This means that we are open, honest and motivated together by a common desire to provide quality services to patients through effective human resource management practices. Most “partnership agreements” are centrally aimed at improving business performance. In a characteristic agreement between the cooperative bank and the Banking and Financial Union, it says that “our partnership must make an essential contribution to the growth of a viable and sustainable business.” United Distillers sees the partnership as one of the “drivers of a step on the road to world-class manufacturing.” In formal partnership agreements, the unions have expressly reaffirmed their commitment to pursue these objectives and to work together with the company to introduce the necessary agreed changes. The Trust has agreed on appropriate schedules and facilities to allow union representatives to participate in local partnership activities. The two links above provide a context for the usefulness of an agreed time for TU facilities.
The Trust has developed a partnership agreement with unions and staff, which is subject to regular review to ensure that it continues to meet service needs. The Trust appreciates the positive contribution that a constructive and genuine approach to partnership can make in the delivery of services to the provision of quality health and social services. We intend to develop our approach to partnering with unions, staff and staff in designing and addressing future changes and to be open and clear about the impact of these effects on staff. Since the election of the Labour government in May 1997, much has been said about the idea of “partnership” as a new “third way” for the UK`s labour relations – which for its supporters is a modern alternative to both deeply entrenched opposition to traditional wage negotiations and unilateral management in the 1980s and 1990s.