Industrial relations training for shop stewards : workplace perceptions of its objectives, impact and consequences
Since the Second World War the shop steward's role at plant level has been growing, involving stewards in various levels of company decision-making machinery which has encouraged them to develop a role and identity not always compatible with their role as seen by the trade union external to the place of work. Despite such developments, relatively little is known about the influences at the workplace which affect shop steward's behaviour and orientations. This is particularly true with respect to the influence of the provision of shop steward training. How does such training affect the way stewards operate at the place of work? What is the impact of training on the "ideology/" of stewards at domestic level with respect to management and the wider trade union movement? What lessons can be learned from and for the present pattern of shop steward training? On these and related themes the research examines the existing provision of shop steward training pre and post 1975. It examines the literature and arguments surrounding such provision, it argues and examines the notion of "control" relative to training and considers the perceived objectives of the main groups of actors concerned, ie shop stewards, full time officials, line and personnel managers. From this research, conclusions about objectives, provision and content of industrial relations training for shop stewards are drawn as v/ell as some wider implications for trade unions, management and industrial relations educators.