Union Learning Representatives in the United Kingdom – Activity, Impact and Organisation

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Saundry, Richard ; Antcliff, Valerie ; Hollinrake, Alison (2016)

The debate over the significance of Union Learning Representatives (ULRs) in the United Kingdom (UK) has become increasingly polarised. Some commentators see little prospect of ULRs contributing to advancing either workplace learning or union organisation due to the constraints of neo-liberal state policy. An opposing view emphasises union agency in developing a collective approach to learning and extended joint regulation through a process of critical engagement. This article presents analysis of data from the 2009 National Survey of ULRs, which finds a positive relationship between ULR activity and its impact in enhancing training outcomes, increasing union membership and the joint regulation of workplace learning. This supports arguments that agency of ULRs is not inevitably suppressed by the structural limitations of union learning.
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