Tunnel vision

Non-union employee representation at Eurotunnel

Paul J. Gollan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

It is apparent from existing research in the UK that little is known about how forms ofnon-union employee representation (NER) are composed, their independence from managerial influence, the “representativeness” of such bodies, and their accountability. In addition, little has been documented about the impact of such structures on either the managerial objective of securing consent to organisational change or the employee objective of influencing managerial decisions. This research will attempt to address these issues by examining NER structures in the UK and, in particular, assessing their effectiveness in representing the needs of employees through an examination of representative arrangements at Eurotunnel. Overall, the evidence suggests that most NER structures are used as devices for consultation and communication rather than as bargaining agents. While it can be argued that consultation, not bargaining, may indeed be their objective, it nevertheless questions the legitimacy of such bodies as true alternatives to unions. This presents the issue of whether state-sponsored NER forms with provisions for resources and training could improve the effectiveness of NER forms in representing employees’ interests at the workplace. As the Eurotunnel example and previous evidence have indicated, while NER structures can be used as mechanisms for more effective means of communication and consultation, their effectiveness as bodies representing the interests of employees in filling the lack of representation is questionable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)376-400
Number of pages25
JournalEmployee Relations
Volume23
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2001

Keywords

  • Communications
  • Consultations
  • Employee involvement
  • Employee rights
  • Human resource management
  • Representation
  • Strategy

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