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Trade Unions and the Representation of Non-Standard Workers
Tel: 029 2087 4919
The research aims to describe the trade union responses to workers with non -standard contracts along a series of dimensions. These are: the extent to which unions seek to include or exclude non - standard workers from membership: the extent to which they develop distinctive arrangements for the representation of these groups or include them with members with standing working arrangements: and the extent to which the representation of non - standard workers has been accompanied by innovation in union recruitment practice, forms of participation and methods of servicing. The descriptive stage of the research will also consider the differentiation in union policy towards non-standard workers and whether some groups have been accorded priority.
The research also aims to explain the pattern of union responses to non- standard work and to test available theories of change in trade unions. Key issues which arise here include the manner in which policy is selected. For example, is a more active response a function of demand in the union's environment or does it arise from internal change within unions? Do union policies on behalf of non- standard workers emerge at the union centre or is innovation a function of dispersed decision making?
The research further aims to evaluate union policy on behalf of employees with non-standard working arrangements through two mechanisms. Firstly, through an assessment of union success in recruiting and organising non-standard workers, and secondly, through the development and application of a survey which will measure the satisfaction and commitment of these workers to trade unions.
a review and analysis of 'movement- wide' initiatives developed on behalf of non-standard workers by the Trades Union Congress
an interview survey of all unions operating in the three industrial sectors (named overleaf) which will gather standardised information on union strategies to represent non- standard workers, and will be supported by the collection of documents and other data, including a content analysis of union journals
case studies of union campaigns intended to recruit and organise non-standard workers. Examples of this include attempts by the TGWU to promote membership amongst part-time supermarket workers, the attempts by several unions to develop recognition and recruitment arrangements with employment agencies and attempts to organise contract workers in higher and further education. Case studies will be confined to a small number of unions and will be indentified through the interview survey
an attitude survey of union members with non-standard working arrangements in the case study unions intended to identify and account for their aspirations, requirements, participation in, satisfaction with and level of commitment to their unions
and Academic Implications