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Union representation and training : the impact of Union Learning Representatives and the factors influencing their effectiveness

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Sage Publications Ltd.
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Abstract

This article provides an assessment of the impact of Union Learning Representatives (ULRs) on both employer-funded and non-employer funded training in Britain. The findings, based upon the largest and most comprehensive national survey of ULRs conducted to date, suggest that while a significant proportion of ULRs have influenced training levels positively, a further 26 percent have had no positive impact on either employer-funded or non-employer funded training, and a further 13 percent have had a very limited impact. The article also develops an ‘Activity-Support-Characteristics’ (ASC) framework, and uses this framework to identify the factors that are associated with the ability of ULRs to influence training levels. The analysis shows ULRs are more likely to have had a positive impact on training where: they spend five hours a week or more on the role; they are supported by a workplace Learning Centre or a Union Learning Fund project; managers value their ULR activities; consultation or negotiation over training occurs; or the ULR represents no more than 200 employees.

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