Case study: Humberside police build relationship with union

Humberside Police tries hard to build a solid relationship with Unison, the trade union that represents the majority of police staff within the UK.

Instead of approaching Unison with a them-and-us attitude, Humberside Police makes managers available for Unison representatives to discuss issues around levels of pay or pension benefits, and acknowledges the role the union plays.

Humberside Police even accommodates the union’s representatives by offering them office space to conduct their day-to-day work. John Robinson, employee relations manager, says: “We set [union] representatives up with desks and office space. We try to look after them.” By maintaining this contact and allowing the union to become involved in local government pension and pay alterations, the level of animosity between the union and management is kept to a minimum.

Robinson adds: “The union has a fair amount of power nationally, and we don’t expect [it] to just accept changes [to benefits such as pay and pensions]. They send their own representatives to discuss the changes.”