Freedom of Association

Case study - Training union representatives at a UK farm

Training union representatives at a UK farm

A farm had a trade union and the representative was a polish man in his 50s. The workers at the site came from a number of different countries including Poland, Latvia, Ukraine and the UK. It was found that the representative was not effectively representing the views of all of the workers. The representative usually just spoke to the other Polish men and therefore under-represented the views of women and other nationalities.

The farm decided to ensure that there were a number of other representatives from different nationalities and also female union representatives. The farm arranged for training for the representatives carried out by a trade union, off-site. The training included what the representative function should involve, diversity training, trade union communication, canvassing opinion and representing the views of workers from a diverse workforce.

The representatives, once trained were better able to represent the views of the whole workforce and took greater pride in their role and responsibilities. The benefit to management was an increased awareness of the needs of their diverse workforce as well as a happier workforce.

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