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Thames Water staff to get improved training and work-life balance through partnership forums


A new partnership agreement has been struck between Thames Water and its recognised trade unions Unison, the GMB, the AEEU and the TGWU. All 5,200 employees were asked to participate in a referendum on the introduction of the new arrangements, with 71 percent of those who returned their forms voting in favour.

Among its features, the partnership aims to introduce:

  • New partnership forums to enhance employee involvement and participation
  • Improved training and development, for example through "lifelong learning" initiatives
  • A review of terms and conditions to create an improved reward structure
  • "Work/life balance" initiatives, such as leave for carers and part-time working

Benefits which the agreement should bring include more open and constructive employee relations, and less time consuming and costly negotiations over such issues as pay and the development of new employment policies.

Julia Cherrett, personnel director of Thames Water Utilities said: "The new partnership will help the company meet the challenges and opportunities accompanying changes in the external business environment. We and the trade unions see the agreement as the best way of enabling organisational change and ensuring that employees are properly involved and consulted about matters that affect them. It will allow us to work together to create an open and constructive employee relations culture."

Discussions with the unions about the partnership proposals began early in the year. Staff were then told about the proposed partnership agreement through publicity and presentations in the months running up to the referendum, which was held from 17 July to 4 August.

The partnership will start to be implemented over the next few weeks, with the aim of introducing new initiatives next April.


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