UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Supply Chain Strategies & Union Leverage

The latest edition of LRD's Workplace Report (No 100, March 2012) has an interesting feature on the fragmentation of collective bargaining and a new approach by unions targeting the supply chain of large companies and organisations - in order to improve labour standards at suppliers.
TUC research identified that a 'reputational risk' strategy can be used to force 'client leverage' on employers down the supply chain (see below) http://www.strongerunions.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/TUC-ESRC-Research-Bulletin-No-1-March-2011.pdf

A December 2011 TUC report 'Beyond the employment relationship: collective bargaining and supply chain coordination' provided a number of recommendations for unions seeking to develop supply chain strategies derived from case studies:

• organising is a necessary way for unions to gain leverage;

• the vulnerability of client firms to reputational risk is another key source of leverage;

• different client firms have different reputational vulnerabilities;

• confrontation may be a necessary tactic for leverage to be gained successfully;

• supply chain strategies need to be both “top-down” and “bottom-up”;

• developing alliances with other stakeholders can improve leverage;

• investing in research to analyse supply chain dynamics can help to identify how leverage can be gained; and

• timing can be a critical factor affecting leverage.