The sectoral distribution of partnership agreements is interesting. In privatized utility companies, which have a long history of public sectors with extensive centralized negotiations, the partnership can be seen as a clear aspiration for leadership to define the role of unions away from their past in the public sector. In private services, where collective bargaining and unionization have traditionally been less qualified, this can be seen as an opportunity to define a union role in sectors where worker bargaining power alone was not sufficient and is still not sufficient to ensure the recognition of employers. Partnership agreements, as described to date, appear to be less prevalent in the public, manufacturing and non-union sectors. The concrete impact on issues such as security and flexibility is difficult to assess at this stage. The non-legislative status of collective agreements in the United Kingdom means that these new declarations, including employers` employment security obligations, have no legal force. It is the stated commitment of the partners – in particular the trade unions – to act as common managers of agreed change agendas, which forms the basis for assessing the proper functioning of these agreements. The clear role of trade unions as partners in « management » processes confers on these agreements, as well as the explicit links between flexibility, security and success, their distinctiveness and novelty. For their supporters, this role will serve to improve the status and importance of unions and increase the likelihood of recognition by leaders. Indeed, critics of the partnership on the British model, especially those on the left of political and trade union thought, this same role and the acceptance of economic success by trade unions as one of their own objectives threaten the ideological and pragmatic independence of trade unions from management and, therefore, their ability to freely defend the interests of members. Two general views on « partnership » in the workplace are identified as a trade union strategy: it is seen either as a potentially effective strategy to restore the influence of trade unions or as a fatal mistake. Examines the determinants of strong partnership relationships between the Union and management to support the evaluation of the « partnership union » as a union strategy.

A definition of partnership in the workplace is based on practice. While there are commonalities with previous attempts to promote or implement cooperation between unions and management, it is argued that the current workplace partnership has different characteristics because of its specific context. Two cases are used to illustrate the internal dynamics of partnership in the workplace and the type of interaction with environmental factors. This isolates the necessary elements of strong partnership relationships. It is found that partnership is not only compatible with a stronger organization in the workplace, but that it depends on it. Such an agreement is found as a possible alternative to accounts that emphasize the inclusion and demobilization of trade unions. Other elements often known about partnership agreements are: work leave and trade union activities, including advice on leave for trade union representatives (ACAS document), (PDF, 931 Kb) In May 1999, the British Trade Unions Congress held a major conference to promote the dissemination of « partnership agreements » between management and trade unions.