Twin tracks-employee representation at eurotunnel revisited

Paul J. Gollan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The introduction of the European Directive on Information and Consultation and the recent implementation of the Information and Consultation of Employees (ICE) Regulations into United Kingdom (UK) law have increased the focus on workplace representation arrangements. This paper examines the interplay between nonunion and union representative arrangements at Eurotunnel (UK) and assesses their effectiveness in representing the needs of employees over a 5-year period. Importantly, the paper also examines the opportunities and challenges of both nonunion representation (NER) and union voice arrangements. The findings show that the effectiveness of nonunion structures as bodies representing the interests of employees in filling the lack of representation is questionable. However, union recognition through an employer-union partnership agreement has also raised important issues regarding the effectiveness, impact, and legitimacy of unions at Eurotunnel. The main implication of this research is that the existence of a mechanism-union or nonunion - for communication between management and employees at the workplace may not be a sufficient condition for effective representation of employee interests. In addition, while trade unions may provide greater voice than nonunion arrangements (thus the reluctance of management to accept such voice arrangements), the strength of voice is dependent on the legitimacy and effectiveness of trade unions in representing employees' interests at the workplace. And that in turn depends on the union being perceived by the workforce as both representative and able to act independently. If the union cannot, it will not meet the needs of either employees or management-and could run the risk of being supplanted under the provisions of the new EU Directive on Information and Consultation with tougher requirements for compliance in terms of procedures for consultation and information disclosure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)606-649
Number of pages44
JournalIndustrial Relations
Volume45
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006

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