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Employees & practical

The development of learning capacity in employees has practical limitations too. ULRs learnt that, not all employees are very enthusiastic towards learning. Another important factor is the difficulty to identify learning needs on non-work subjects. Indifferent attitudes of the management were also a barrier to the development of successful learning. Although the learning project officers were positive of the employers support, the attitudes of managers, down the hierarchy was varied. There have also been cases of unions threatening of grievance action against managers.

There were several problems associated with the ULRs, as the role of ULR is new. These problems were mainly associated with their roles and their workloads. Problems also arise when new ULRs are not sufficiently briefed on their responsibilities. In some workplaces, ULRs may hold several responsibilities, which can again be problematic. In small workplaces, there are possibilities of role overlap or role overload, which could also lead to problems. Many Union involvement in workplace learning 18

studies clearly correlate positive achievements with union recognition, high performance workplaces and negotiation of learning. It is on the basis of these trends, that the TUC is asking the government to introduce policy reforms based on this model, in several more workplaces. It had earlier recommended the Leitch Review panel to emphasize this area in its final report. The government commissioned Leitch Review is entrusted with the responsibility of identifying the optimal skills requirements of 2020, and consider policies for reaching the same.

The TUC had also wanted the Leitch Review to implement policies to ensure that unions and workers have equal voice in deciding workplace skills. The TUC emphasized that unions and employers need to be incentivised to negotiate on training and that this aspect be also included in the statutory union recognition procedure as a collective bargaining issue. The government was stressed to examine and support options that permit the trade unions to negotiate more collective arrangements, particularly with respect to the role of the ULRs.

References

Towers T (2003) Ed. The handbook of employment relations, law & practice. 4th edition Kogan Page, London McLoughlin, I and Gourlay, S (1994) Enterprise without unions: Industrial relations in the non-union firm, Open University Press, Buckingham Unionlearn. (2007) The role of trade unions in the formation and distribution of learning and skills, [Electronic Version] downloaded on 27th March, 2008 from http://www. unionlearn. org. uk/policy/learn-2042-f0. pdf

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