I spent some time at the GMB Congress last month at which I heard about the findings of a piece of research by The Campaign Company (TCC) which had been commissioned by the GMB to explore how the union promoted and represented women.
It is a robust piece of research and TCC has, among other things, has spent some time asking women to share their experience of the union and asking them how to improve upon this.
Although the final conclusions have yet to be presented it’s an important piece of work nonetheless, not least because it illustrates how seriously the union takes women and their contribution in the workplace. If only the same could be said for all businesses and organisations.
The authors write in their summary: “This project is timely and has captured a mood for change. Indeed, we further believe that there is a strong business case that the union will be able to realise the expertise, commitment and energy of a large percentage of its workforce if these recommendations are implemented. This will give it a competitive advantage in relation to employers and other trade unions that may be competing over the same territory.”
This is something I often say of the boardroom and if businesses and organisations recognised the value and monetary capital women hold then they would recognise that they indeed could have a competitive advantage over rivals if they were to employ more women to senior positions.
The research also explored work which has been undertaken by other trade unions in this area. While the Union is seeking to address some of the issues, the report also notes an almost universal recognition that significant progress has been made in recent times and a profound confidence in and loyalty to the union. This leads us to believe that there is a firm foundation on which to build a programme that will have significant impact.
The proposals would require a major undertaking for the union and it’s a brave organisation which recognises the need to improve, and also acts upon this.