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London, 13th November 2012, An innovative new membership organisation has been created to promote and improve employee and workplace relations in the UK. Underpinned by a program of professional qualifications from a leading UK Business School and a set of minimum standards, the Employee Relations Institue aims to enhance the practical skills and competence of managers and employee representatives in all sizes of employer, across all sectors.

Backed by a board consisting of leading business people, employers representatives and senior trade union officials, the Institute has the backing of organisations such as BP, RBS, EDF, Pearson, TUC, ACAS, UNITE the UNION, Prospect, USDAW and UNISON.

Rod Bristow, President of Pearson UK said, “The requirements of managers are many, but leading employees is vital. It is a skill which needs developing and nurturing and the Employee Relations institute seeks to do that.” and John Taylor, Chief Executive of ACAS, said “We clearly see the need for the Employee Relations Institute and its aims”.

Research by Gregory P. Smith found that half of workers moving onto new roles left their previous employer due to their direct supervisor. The ERI is encouraging organisations to commit to workplace standards, in order to ensure that supervisors and line managers have the right level of skills and competence to develop effective and productive relationships with the people they manage.

“Most people work for their direct line manager, rather than their CEO or the brand of the employer. That is why the line manager and their ability in the workplace is absolutely key to creating a successful working and business environment. Employers that overlook this key issue do so at their peril” said Andy Cook, Chair of the Institute.

In partnership with the Bradford University School of Management, the ERI will offer a full education programme, leading to a masters qualification aimed at Senior Managers, Employee Representatives and HR Professionals, that focuses heavily on the practical and behavioural skills required, backed by relevant theory. This programme will also be available at Certificate and Diploma levels. The programme will start in March 2013, with shorter on-site programmes becoming available from September 2013.

Jan Parkinson, Chief Executive of ERI said: “Effective and meaningful employee engagement is crucial in improving workplace relations. A workplace in which there is open, honest and transparent communications between employees and management creates an environment which benefits all parties involved. Key benefits include higher productivity, better employee retention and fewer disputes and tribunals.”

“As well as providing professional qualifications and CPD opportunities for management and trade union representatives, the ERI will carry out research into employee and workplace relations in order to ensure that we are keeping abreast of all current and key employee relations issues.”

With a strong board of industry experts, the ERI will provide expert advice to its members. The ERI is looking to recruit founder members – a group of 20 employers who are willing to sign up to the Institute’s minimum standards.

This is the chance for employers to influence a landmark initiative within employee relations and there will be the opportunity to join in consultations on important issues on the development of employee engagement skills in the UK.

For more information about the ERI or about becoming a founder member, please visit or email


Notes to editors

A full list of board members can be found below and at:

• Jan Parkinson, Chief Executive, ERI
• Lord ‘Tom’ Sawyer, President
• Andy Cook, Executive Chair of ERI (Chief Executive, MarshallJames Global Solutions Ltd)
• Rod Bristow, President, Pearson UK
• Mike Clancy, General Secretary, Prospect Trades Union
• Richard Fulham, Director, Employee & Industrial Relations, BP International
• John Hannett, General Secretary, USDAW
• John Last, Director, Group Policy & Employment, RBS
• Dr Jo McBride, Bradford University School of Management
• Tony McCarthy, HR Director, ENRC
• Roger McKenzie, Assistant General Secretary for Organising & Recruitment, UNISON
• Sarah Messenger, Head of Workforce, The Local Government Association
• Jim Mowatt, Director of Education, UNITE the Union
• Phillip Parker, Head of Industrial Relations, NNB / EDF Energy
• Dr David Spicer, senior lecturer in organisational change at Bradford University School of Management and head of its people management group
• John Taylor, Chief Executive, ACAS
• Tom Wilson, Director, unionlearn

If you would like to speak to Jan Parkinson, Andy Cook or another board member, please contact Nathalie Agnew on the details below:

Nathalie Agnew – 01349 861976/ 07985 595510

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